SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: June 01, 2013

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Dhaka Coaching Centres

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Pakistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Syed Azfar Rizvi, a well-known literary figure and Chair of the Association of Advancement of the Urdu Language and of the Dhaka Coaching Centers, was killed in Karachi on May 31, 2013.
According to reports from his son, Professor Rizvi was driving home from one of the Dhaka Coaching Center branches when a man on a motorcycle opened fire on his car. Both he and the driver of his car were critically injured and were rushed to the hospital where Syed Azfar Rizvi passed away.
Syed Azfar Rizvi was well known in the arts and literary community of the city of Karachi. He was founder of the Dhaka Group of Educational Institutions, under which several schools and tutoring centers operate, providing educational services to students from grade school to university level. He had recently also been elected the Treasurer of the Arts Council of Pakistan (one of the country’s highest arts promotion bodies). A renowned literary scholar, Professor Rizvi was soon to release a book.
A First Information Report (police report) was not filed by investigating officers until June 4, nearly four days after the incident. The police had yet to identify any suspects and said they were working on sketches of the possible culprits.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the targeted killing of a literary scholar. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression in the region. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.