Director T2F Sabeen Mahmud shot dead in Karachi

Published April 24, 2015
T2F Director Sabeen Mahmud. — White Star
T2F Director Sabeen Mahmud. — White Star
A policeman and security officer inspect a car after the murder of Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi, Pakistan, April 25, 2015. — Reuters
A policeman and security officer inspect a car after the murder of Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi, Pakistan, April 25, 2015. — Reuters
A pair of sandals lies amid broken glass in a car after the murder of Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi, Pakistan, April 25, 2015. — Reuters
A pair of sandals lies amid broken glass in a car after the murder of Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi, Pakistan, April 25, 2015. — Reuters

KARACHI: The director of The Second Floor (T2F), Sabeen Mahmud, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi on Friday.

Sabeen, accompanied by her mother, left T2F after 9pm on Friday evening and was on her way home when she was shot by unidentified gunmen in Defence Phase-II, sources confirmed. She died on her way to the hospital. Doctors said they retrieved five bullets from her body, which has now been shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.

Her mother also sustained bullet wounds and is currently being treated at a hospital; she is said to be in critical condition.

T2F had on Friday organised a talk on Balochistan: 'Unsilencing Balochistan Take 2: In Conversation with Mama Qadeer, Farzana Baloch & Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur.'

Read: T2F hosts the Balochistan discussion that others shy away from

Sabeen had left T2F after attending the session, when she was targeted.

T2F, described as a community space for open dialogue, was Sabeen's brainchild. In an interview with Aurora, she referred to it as “an inclusive space where different kinds of people can be comfortable.”

Sabeen Mahmud — a profile

Conceived as a bookstore and café patterned after the old coffeehouse culture of Lahore and Karachi, The Second Floor — or T2F, as everyone calls it — says on its website that it was born out of a desire to enact transformational change in urban Pakistani society.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Nasreen Jalil, while talking to DawnNews, condemned Sabeen Mahmud's killing and demanded the government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, taking notice of the incident, has asked the Additional Inspector-General Karachi Police to submit a report on the brutal murder, DawnNews reported.

Condolences pour in

The reluctant non-conformist

Extracts from a profile published in Aurora Magazine

T2F Director Sabeen Mahmud never wanted to walk the off-beaten path; she simply walked, or actually ran full speed in the direction she wanted to. Never mind that everyone else seemed to be going in the opposite direction. She barely noticed. She was too busy running.

A rebel’s daughter who gave up a life of Tetris, Mac doodling and professional cricket (after three knee injuries) to start a NGO that promotes the arts, culture, science, technology, activism and advocacy… and she did it all just to make some new friends, and maybe start some interesting conversations. Six years and nearly 600 events later, T2F has to its credit national and international press coverage, countless donations and the kind of cult following typically reserved for rock bands. Mahmud doesn’t see that though.

“I didn’t think this is a big deal, this is just a small little community space.”

But that word ‘community’ still hits home.

“When people say… we really feel at home here… that has been like balloons and ice-cream, I have been living on that for the past six years.”

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