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Yasir Rizvi: a class dismissed

It was a shinny afternoon of June 2012, I along with some other fellows was present in the corridor of our department in Federal Urdu University of Arts Science and Technology (FUUAST), it was then that a humble man with light beard, grey and black hair and spectacles on his face called me.

The man asked me for my roll number, which I gave him and jokingly inquired ‘Sab Khair Hai Na Sir!’, and he replied that he is soon going to join faculty of Mass Communications at University of Karachi (UoK) and I may have to face difficulty in getting marks for my assignment which I had duly submitted to him – but misplaced and later found.

He was the very first person who introduced us to Mass Communications or to be precise ‘News Reporting’.

Prof Yasir Rizvi with our dear fellow Mir Farhan

Anyhow, after giving him my roll number I moved on with some other casual remarks and never cared to ask the varsity about those marks or rest of my credentials of all semesters since we passed out in December 2013.

He was an Assistant Professor Waheedur Rehman widely known as Yasir Rizvi, which departed today leaving behind a generation to mourn on.

As I woke up today, I was shocked to see text messages by three of my friends that ‘unknown assailants’ had targeted our beloved teacher in city’s FB Area in a broad daylight.

Since then, I felt myself extremely distressed, when retained senses I inquired family whether they had got any such news on TV channels, told them that our teacher Yasir Rizvi was reportedly gunned down.

At this, the family responded it was some Prof. Waheedur Rehman and I felt relieved and thankful that it wasn’t Mr. Rizvi.

But, a moment later his killing was confirmed as I logged on to a news website and discovered that Prof. Waheedur Rehman was also known with Yasir Rizvi. All that anguish and sorrow once again took over me.

While getting ready for office, I remained bit composed because of the hectic – to me for being extremely lazy chap – chores I go through prior to setting out for my workplace.

The moment I rode my bike all those memories again surrounded me and by the time I reached the office and switched on my system, I felt shattered and not being able to perform anything.

All I had in my mind was to offer funeral prayers of the one who acquainted us with the ‘ABC’ of Mass Communications, by means of which we are heading forth bringing luxuries to our lives gradually.

I asked my boss that I and another colleague who too happened to be a disciple of Mr. Rizvi had to go for his last rites.

Reaching FB Area, we offered the prayers at a local mosque where a large number of faculty members, students of both FUAAST and UoK, relatives and friends of such an enlightened soul had gathered to have a last sight of him, who used to lecture on avoiding mishaps while in journalism, conflict-handling etc.

He always urged us to remain honest with our work as their will be numerous times when things would be offered, we could be asked to angle stories, but we were to ascertain that we remain loyal to our profession.

Rizvi always stood to help students, taught them in such a manner that even the dumbest of students like us conceived it.

Mr Rizvi during a conference at Marriot Hotel, Karachi

On the very first day, he had lectured to us that if anyone of us had come to Mass Communications just because of that word ‘media’ which surrounds us with all its glamour, colors, power, then we should change that perception and look forward to reality.

I can’t forget the way he elaborated hardships, threats which the journos come across working in field and sitting back at so-called air conditioned offices, and he today was devoured by the same stigma of our society.

Sources claim that six hitmen were sent to tackle a humble soul like Rizvi, while he was en route to Karachi University at around 10.30 am today. Riding on three motorbikes, two of the assailants blocked his vehicle as he left the apartment building he was residing in, while four others came from either side.

He reportedly received five bullets and Karachi was deprived of yet another refined professional, an educationist, a mentor and a staunch journalist.

Prof. Yasir Rizvi was immediately taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Scores of former and current colleagues and students thronged the hospital as the word spread. Another fellow of mine, Wasim Raza Naqvi tells that he witnessed many of Rizvi’s students kissing his face out of the affection they had with him.

Professor Yasir Rizvi had no siblings, nor does his wife have any. He left behind two daughters, the elder being in graduation and the younger a seven-grader. His parents had already passed away.

The question which many of us remained asking each other at his funeral was who had done this to a such a gentleman, who apparently never had any opposition, not to talk of the possibility of having such violent repercussion.

Having reported for an Urdu newspaper for almost 13 years and with a Phd in Mass Communications to his credit, Rizvi started lecturing and disseminating his knowledge to others.

: The staunch journalist too indulged in his work

He was said to have maintained cordial ties with every political party – though reporting unbiasedly – yet, entering into academia and then encountering such an incident makes no sense, at least for now.

Members from student wings of almost every political party were present at his funeral, irrespective of their mutual relationship everyone condoled each other over the tragic demise of the mentor of hundreds.

Rizvi counseled numerous students and provided with a break into media.

A couple of days ago, the slain professor had given a small paper chit to my colleague with topics mentioned to be prepared for M Phil entry test, this small chit bears witness of how much he was concerned about everyone and his affiliation with his students.

The chit Mr Rizvi handed to our fellow Qaisar Kamran a few days ago

The motive behind his death is still unknown and like many other professionals he too departed with mystery surrounding his brutal killing, but the question arises as to when this practice will come to a halt, when will peace be actually restored in this city of over 20 million and when will people like Rizvi start freely passing on their legacy to others with no fear of being killed?

With tearful eyes like almost all of his disciples today, I am writing this piece to give a little idea of the misery of the society we are living in.

This generation of Mass Communications students owe you a lot sir, God willing your killers would not stay at large and meet their due fate ‘Hum Dekhen Ge…Lazim Hai K Hum B Dekhen Ge’.

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