This is with reference to the report “IBA-Sukkur teacher killed over ‘honour’ enmity” (April 7) according to which a professor was gunned down in cold blood. The murder of Dr Ajmal Sawand, a social activist, who was working to challenge the tribal system in Sindh, highlights the urgent need to address the issue of tribalism and its adverse impact on society.
His assassination is more tragic since he was a highly-qualified teacher, a PhD in Computer Sciences from France. This is a huge academic loss, for we in Pakistan already face a severe dearth of senior academics with relevant exposure to the developed world.
Tribalism has long been a frustrating feature of Pakistan’s social and political landscape, perpetuated by the power of the tribal chieftains, who wield significant influence over their communities. Sindh is no exception on this count. This has created a hierarchical and often unjust system, where individual’s merit and ability are subordinated to tribal affiliations.
The murder of Dr Ajmal is a stark reminder of the dangers faced by those who seek to challenge this deeply entrenched system. It is also a tragedy for his family, his community, and for all those who believe in justice and equality.
To address the issue of tribalism in Sindh, it is important to recognise the structural and historical factors that have perpetuated this system. Efforts should be made to promote inclusivity and social mobility, and to challenge the power structures that reinforce tribalism. This includes promoting education and economic opportunity for all individuals regardless of their tribal background.
The challenge of addressing tribalism is complex and multifaceted, requiring concerted efforts from all segments of society. By promoting dialogue and inclusivity, and by challenging power structures that reinforce tribalism, we can work towards a more just and equitable society for one and all.
The memory of Dr Ajmal and his commitment to social justice should serve as an inspiration to us all. It is also crucial to address the issue of violence and impunity within the region. The perpetrators of professor’s murder must be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions.
This will send a strong message that violence and intimidation will not be tolerated, and that justice will be served.
SONIA NAJAM SHAIKH