ISLAMABAD: The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) condemned the killing of rights activist Sabeen Mahmud, who was brutally gunned down in Karachi a day earlier.
Director General ISPR, Asim Bajwa took to Twitter to post a short statement Saturday condemning the murder as “tragic and unfortunate”, adding that intelligence agencies have been tasked to assist in the investigation of the killing.
They were also looking into possibility of involvement of extremist organisations as they believe she was targeted for being a liberal female activist.
Meanwhile, Karachi-South DIG Dr. Jamil Ahmed said, “It is a clear case of targeted killing and police are working on few possible motives of the murder.”The ISPR statement comes as an apparent response to mounting criticism on social media in the aftermath of Mahmud’s murder.
Secondly, the police assert that since stability was returning and law and order situation was improving in the city, an “enemy country or its intelligence agency” may have wanted to give a “complicated turn” to it by targeting a prominent rights activist.
They are also investigating whether her murder might be related to some “personal enmity”.
“These are some of the aspects on which the investigators are working,” said the South DIG.
To a question, Dr. Jamil Ahmed revealed that they have got feedback from her injured mother and friends of slain Sabeen Mehmud who disclosed that that she has been receiving threats for the last ‘four to six weeks.’
Through these threats on her mobile phone, Sabeen was asked to “suspend her activities”, said the police officer. He said that they would get the mobile phone record of the slain activist and would also try to get CCTV footage from the crime scene to get any clue about identity of the attackers.
Mahmud was shot dead in Karachi Friday as she made her way home after hosting a seminar about human rights abuses in Balochistan.
The seminar titled “Un-silencing Balochistan Take 2”, featured two prominent Baloch rights activists, Mama Abdul Qadeer and Farzana Baloch, among other speakers.
Earlier this month, a similar seminar scheduled to take place at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) was cancelled after officials from security agencies reportedly warned university management to call off the talk.
The talk at LUMS was slated to feature Baloch human rights activist Qadeer, who is known for highlighting cases of enforced disappearance of Baloch activists which rights groups accuse the military and intelligence agencies of kidnapping and killing.
Mahmud, who ran ‘The Second Floor’, a cafe that organises debates and art events, had just left the venue with her mother when her car was attacked by gunmen in Karachi’s Defence neighbourhood.
Mahmud was hit by five bullets and died at the scene, police said. Her mother was critically injured and was shifted to a hospital where her condition is now reported to be out of danger.
Friends and well-wishers devastated by Mahmud’s brutal killing have taken to Twitter and Facebook to share fond memories and heartfelt tributes.