With an Activist’s Death, Pakistan’s Violence Continues

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by SANITY, Apr 28, 2015.


    SANITY Regular Member

    Oct 16, 2014
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    Demonstrators in Lahore, Pakistan hold pictures of Sabeen Mahmud. K.M. CHAUDARY / ASSOCIATED PRESS By CAROL GIACOMO APRIL 28, 2015

    In Pakistan and elsewhere around the globe, many people are asking who killed Sabeen Mahmud, the Pakistani activist, and what authorities will do about it. If the past holds, the answer is little or nothing. Her death appears to be further evidence that the country is descending further into an abyss in which dissent and moderation are in peril. On Friday night, Ms. Mahmud, 39 years old and the director of a popular arts center in Karachi, was gunned down in her car as she drove home with her mother. There are many reasons to assume it was not just random violence, as terrible as that would be. Ms. Mahmud had just finished hosting an event that sought to highlight grave human rights abuses, widely blamed on Pakistan’s powerful army, in Baluchistan, the country’s largest province, where a separatist insurgency has been raging for a decade. She organized the discussion at her center and cafe, called The Second Floor, after it was canceled at a private university in Lahore a few weeks earlier, reportedly at the request of the military’s fearsome Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate. Ms. Mahmud made an enormous contribution to her city and the pursuit of freedom of expression, human rights and justice. She participated in protests and supported political activists who sought to reduce the strength of Islamic extremists in Pakistan society. Before her death, Ms. Mahmud told friends and journalists that she occasionally had come under scrutiny from Pakistani intelligence agents. Her friends called her fearless and brave. What makes her killing all the more tragic and frightening is that it is the latest in a recent string of attacks on Pakistanis who have defended human rights and tolerance. In 2011, Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, and Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s minorities minister, were assassinated in separate incidents for speaking out against Pakistani’s blasphemy laws. In 2012, the Taliban shot the young girl Malala Yousafezi for her pursuit and defense of education. (She survived, won a Nobel Peace Prize and has continued her human rights and education campaign). In 2014, Rashid Rehman, a human rights lawyer, was killed by gunmen after he took on the case of a colleague accused of blasphemy. Journalists have also come under attack. Last year, Amnesty International documented 34 working journalists killed in the last six years as their reports antagonized violent forces ranging from the government’s intelligence agency to the Taliban and other armed groups, as well as powerful political factions out to squelch media freedoms. In general, Pakistan’s government denies tolerating or instigating the violence, but very few of the attacks have resulted in a prosecution and many activists assume the security services are complicit if not directly involved. The army has condemned Ms. Mahmud’s killing and said its intelligence agents would assist in the investigation. No one should be reassured.

  3. Illusive

    Illusive Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 20, 2010
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    Just another day in pakistan.

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