Protests continue over killing of IBA professor

Family and relatives of the slain Dr. Ajmal Sawand are urging their tribal chiefs and the country’s leadership to end karo-kari and feudalism in Sindh.


April 10, 2023

By Shaukat Korai


Family members and civil society activists marked their third day of protest against the murder of Professor Dr. Ajmal Sawand in Sindh’s Kashmore-Kandhkot district in what is alleged to be part of an ongoing tribal dispute between the Sawands and the Sundaranis.

Dr. Sawand, who had a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence and taught at IBA University Sukkur, was reportedly gunned down by Sundrani men in Shalo village while on his way to Sukkur from his home village of Shawli. The professor sustained 11 gunshot wounds and died on the spot.

The Sawand-Sundrani feud has been ongoing since December 1, 2022, over a reported karo-kari incident.

Three days since the killing, family members and relatives have also been regularly organizing Quran recitations for the slain educationist.

“Doctor sahib had an easygoing nature, he loved and respected his elders much the same as those younger than him. He also had a great attachment to animals,” Jahangir Sawand, a paternal cousin of the deceased, told, adding that Dr. Sawand’s murder was the murder of the nation’s consciousness.

“A tribal grudge murdered this nation’s treasure. My appeal is to this country’s leadership to play a role in purging our district of tribalism. I urge our district chiefs to get rid of this system.”

Jahangir stated that the slain educationist’s family has not eaten out of grief these past three days.

Other relatives say that despite earning a foreign degree, Dr. Sawand chose to come back to Pakistan to teach due to his love for his people and that he had absolutely nothing to do with the tribal feud that took his life.

Maulana Niazullah, a local imam, termed incidents of tribal violence over karo-kari prohibited under to Islam, adding that state institutions should intervene to bring an end to such practices.

“This is an archaic system with roots in Sindh’s ancient history and culture, and which is taking the lives of innocents today,” he said.

In Sindh’s Kashmore-Kandhkot district, 66 women and 27 men have been reportedly killed in karo-kari incidents since January 22, 2022. At least five men, including Dr. Sawand, and a woman were killed as a result of the Sawad-Sundrani feud in the past four months.

Senior journalist Ghulam Yasin Lashari termed the increasing number of karo-kari murders a sign of ignorance, and stated that tribal leaders and law enforcement agencies should play an active role in dealing with tribal violence.

“[Karo-kari] is more widely practiced in those areas of Sindh where tribalism is prominent, and it is our misfortune that this practice still has a place in modern-day Sindh,”

he said. “I have yet to see any chieftain or tribal leader, who enforce feudalism in Sindh, ever try to put a stop to this practice. Because of this, ignorance is intensifying and our educated lot are being killed off because of it.”


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