Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Qk archives: Dr .M. Farooq Khan "Offering collective prayers for higher seats of learning

Offering collective prayers for higher seats of learning
October 2010
Published by the Statesman

By Afzal Hussain Bokhari
As it happened in other cities of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, the medical, religious and academic circles in City paid rich tributes to the slain Vice-Chancellor of Swat Islamic University, Dr Mohammad Farooq Khan. Amn Tehrik (Peace Movement) was the first to stage a protest demonstration on Sunday in front of Peshawar Press Club. Members of civil society and leaders of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) took part in the demonstration. They carried banners and placards with slogans inscribed on them against terrorism, kidnappings and target killings. Protesters demanded capital punishment for Dr Farooq’s killers.

Unidentified gunmen during lunch break stormed Dr Farooq’s clinic located on the second floor of a building on Baghdada-Swabi Road near Muqam Madni Chowk in Mardan on Saturday and took the life of eminent psychiatrist and well-read Islamic scholar. Claiming responsibility for the gruesome murder, a spokesman of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Umar Farooq, made a phone call from an undisclosed location to members of Landikotal Press Club in the tribal Khyber Agency and said that the Abdullah Azzam Brigade, linked to TTP carried out the assassination. The caller accused Dr Farooq of speaking against the Taliban at every forum and for declaring suicide bombing as un-Islamic. He also claimed to have kidnapped the Vice-Chancellor of Islamia College University, Dr Ajmal Khan.

Meanwhile, some sources in police department cited initial investigations and told a section of the mainstream press about preliminary probe which indicated that Dr Farooq’s murder might not have been an act of terrorism but a revenge sequel emanating from an old family feud. They said that deceased’s step-brother, Dr Arif, had killed his parents some years back. Unidentified persons later also killed Dr Arif after the incident. The family had since been suspecting Dr Farooq to be behind the killing. Sources said that police detectives were also questioning employees of the clinic and showed optimism that the killers would be arrested soon.
Back in Mardan, mourners of Dr Farooq’s assassination struggled to wriggle out of the shock. The late VC’s sons, Usama and Waqas, lodged the first information report (FIR) with the area police against unknown killers. Relatives, friends, colleagues and even acquaintances made a beeline to VC’s house in Sector-D of Sheikh Maltoon Town to offer condolences to his family. The late VC was laid to rest on Saturday evening. His largely attended funeral showed that the murdered doctor was immensely popular in the area.
Apart from being a religious scholar, he was also a social worker. Born in Akbarabad, Naway Kallay, now named as Karnal Sher Kallay after the hero of the Kargil War, in Swabi district, Dr Farooq stood indebted for his education to his father Akbar Khan who was the headmaster of a school. While still a student, Farooq Khan first became a member of Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba and later an active worker of Jamaat-i-Islami.
Having studied at the Cadet Colleges in Kohat and Hassanabdal, he did his MBBS from the Khyber Medical College, Peshawar. Back in 1986, he moved from Swabi to Mardan to start his clinic along with wife, Dr Rizwana, who specialised as a gynaecologist. As far as his own area of interest was concerned, Dr Farooq did his specialisation in psychiatry from Austria. He rendered services as doctor in various government hospitals.

Apart from being a capable physician, he was duly equipped with religious education. Dr Farooq’s friends knew that he also tried his hands in politics. For instance, in 1993 he contested but lost election for the National Assembly seat from NA-9 Mardan constituency fought on the ticket of the Jamaat-i-Islami-led Pakistan Islamic Front.
For some time, he remained a member of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) thus holding an important position in the party. Later, he quit politics and focused on academic work, writing books and articles, lecturing in television’s religious programmes and attending social events organized by various NGOs. Back in July this year, he was appointed vice-chancellor of the newly established Islamic University in Swat. He planned to start regular classes at the makeshift campus in Mingora from October 14.
He wrote several books, most of these being in Urdu but a few of them also in English. His book titled ‘Islam kia hai?’ (What is Islam?) had 10 prints. The latest of his publications ‘Jihad and Qital’ was well-received among religious circles. He also wrote a ‘tafseer’ (interpretation) of the holy Quran and frequently delivered lectures against terrorism. Father of two sons and an equal number of daughters, Dr Farooq was an outspoken critic of militancy and suicide bombings which probably irked TTP and cost him his life. As the coincidence would have it, his widoiw Dr Rizwana happened to be in the United States of America visiting her younger daughter when Dr Farooq was shot dead.
Whether we like it or not, the odds appear to have been against education in our part of the world. If newspaper reports have been any indication, between 450 and 500 schools meant for girls in KP have either been destroyed or damaged over the last few years due to militancy and terrorism. Vice-chancellors of universities used to be highly respected people in society. Four names – Hameed Ahmad Khan in Lahore, Mohammad Ali in KP, Karrar Hussain in Quetta and Ahsan Rashid Siddiqui (son of writer Rashid Ahmad Siddiqui) in Karachi – have been icons of dignity and grace.
Some time back, Professor Mujahid Kamran, VC Punjab University, appeared on television with bandages all over the body. He alleged that he had been manhandled by activists of a students’ organisation linked to a religious party. Chief of that organisation, present on the television show, was hesitant in offering any apologies. He defended the action taken by students and accused the VC of ignoring his party’s recommendations to expel and induct teachers of his choice.
In Hazara University, Professor Ehsan Ali is said to have fallen victim to the intrigues and machinations of a section of the non-teaching staff. He later switched over to the newly opened Abdul Wali Khan University, where he is feeling much better. It is high time that we offered collective prayers for the higher seats of learning.
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