Female Pakistani Human Rights Activist Shot Dead


April 24, 2015

A female Pakistani human rights activist has been killed in a drive-by shooting in the port city of Karachi.

Police said Sabeen Mehmood was returning home in a car late on April 24 when unknown gunmen shot her dead.

Doctors said they retrieved five bullets from Mehmood’s body.

Her mother, who was with her, was wounded.

"She was coming back from her program," Zafar Iqbal, the deputy police chief, said. 

"Two gunmen came on a motorcycle and shot her.... The car is at a police station and the investigation is under way."

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the killing and ordered an investigation. Reuters reported that Pakistan's military intelligence agencies will investigate. 

Mehmood, who was director of the charity The Second Floor (T2F), had been the subject of death threats.

T2F houses a cafe and book shop where discussions on human rights issues are regularly held.

The April 24 attack took place shortly after Mehmood hosted a talk on human rights abuses in the restive province of Balochistan.

The event was held at T2F. It was originally due to be held earlier this month at a university in Lahore, but authorities blocked it, media reported.

Tributes were paid to Mehmood on social media soon after news of her death emerged.

In a profile published in 2013 in the Pakistani magazine Aurora, Mehmood was asked what her superpower would be. She answered: "I'd like to wave my magic wand and de-weaponize Karachi."

Karachi is located next to Balochistan Province, where human rights groups have long accused security forces of serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings.

Balochistan is the scene of a low-intensity insurgency by separatist Baluch groups, who want a share of revenue from gas and mineral resources and complete autonomy from Islamabad.

With reporting by dawn.com, AFP, Reuters, AP, and the BBC