KU's Dr Wahidur Rahman — A restless soul
At the best of times, he was a restless soul. At the worst of times, he was an irritatingly restless soul.
Anyone who has shared professional space with Dr Wahidur Rahman will tell you the same.
Talking to one person or one group of persons, or about one thing or to be at one place for more than a minute – OK, maybe two minutes – was something apparently beyond the man.
Nobody knew what made him so restless and colleagues loved to laugh it off as a meaningless mystery. Rahman never shied away. In fact, he shared the laugh.
The mystery stood somewhat resolved on Wednesday morning when unknown assailants opened fire on him while he was driving to Karachi University, where he was an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mass Communications. Dr Wahidur Rahman was a man in a hurry. Premonition?
Call it whatever, but the pace at which he used to move around stands rationalised in his death … a death that can be right away described as untimely, except for the fact that death follows no timeline – not in Karachi at least.
For some reason, Rahman preferred to be addressed as Yasir Rizvi, though all official documents carried his original name. Every now and then, some colleague or the other would pop the question, ‘Why?’ But on such occasions, Rahman’s restlessness would come to his rescue and he would swiftly move on to some other thing – or, better still, to some other place.
Before joining the academia, Rahman was a journalist, covering the rather sensitive MQM beat for an Urdu newspaper that is known to be vociferously against the political party. To his credit, he walked the tightrope quite professionally and had the best of relations with political parties across the board.
His equation with the media and political celebrities gave him a certain edge when he shifted to the academic side of the profession, and he was quite effective in settling things down every time they heated up in the wake of the many currents and cross-currents that are part of life on the campus.
Acknowledging his utility, the Vice-Chancellor had a little while ago given him additional responsibilities in his secretariat. Rahman was reluctant to start with, but did take charge. He now had two offices to consume his restlessness.
Instead, it was finally consumed by the bullets of some assassins who left behind another mystery to resolve.
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