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Sabeen Mahmud — a profile

Published Apr 25, 2015 06:41am


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KARACHI: Peace activist and founder of T2F Sabeen Mahmud, who died from gunshot wounds on Friday, was a woman of many talents that mostly revolved around creating digital platforms for arts and culture.

An only child of an educationist mother and advertising professional father, Ms Mahmud was born in Karachi and received her early education from Karachi Grammar School. After completing her O levels, she went to Lahore to get a Bachelor’s degree from the well-known Kinnaird College. After returning to Karachi, she joined a technology company Solutions Unlimited, headed by Zaheer Kidvai, who went on to become her life-long mentor and a close friend.

Read: Director T2F Sabeen Mahmud shot dead in Karachi

The company that also included Jehan Ara, president of the Pakistan Software Houses Association, created pioneering multimedia CDs in the late 1990s. Her passion and drive led her to head her own company Beyond Information Technology Solutions, an interactive media and technology consulting firm which she set up with the help of her mentor whom she lovingly called Zak. She also helped establish The Citizens Archive of Pakistan along with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and was also the president of The Indus Entrepreneurs.

According to an interview, Ms Mahmud said her biggest dream was to change the world for the better through the internet and communication technologies and T2F was part of that dream.

She set up The Second Floor (T2F) as part of her non-profit umbrella called PeaceNiche of which T2F was her first major project in 2007.

The watering hole soon started organising talks, discussions, exhibitions, pioneering events (Pakistan’s first hackathon, stand-up comedy acts) with prominent local and international artists, writers and activists that it became essential for nearly everyone to attend these events at T2F as Ms Mahmud passionately worked for it day and night from fundraising, marketing to building maintenance.

An amateur sitar player and founder member of the All Pakistan Music Conference, Ms Mahmud not only organised music programmes but also gave space to music educationists at T2F.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2015

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Comments (19) Closed

Nasrati Apr 25, 2015 07:03am

Life worth living.

Zaheer Apr 25, 2015 07:04am

RIP BRAVE LADY..... from India.

Saquib Mawaz-Khan Apr 25, 2015 07:11am


Irfan Umrani Apr 25, 2015 07:32am

I salute you. You are dignity of Pakistan. Our society needs people like you.

James Apr 25, 2015 08:04am

What a tragedy - a beautiful life brought to an end by a bullet. The leadership has to take steps to bring targeted killings and other loss of innocent life in control. May God rest her soul in peace

Tamilselvan Apr 25, 2015 08:45am

May many more blossom like you in Pakistan

Dinesh Singh Apr 25, 2015 09:38am

She is real martyr who needs to be honored and remembered. May God give her soul peace and some wisdom to the murderers.

KWK Basharmal Apr 25, 2015 09:45am

We Afghans are really dishearten by this vicious accident against science, freedom of speech and intellectual approach

art Apr 25, 2015 09:50am

Is there any hope and future left for this country? one after another every sane voice is either being silenced or walked away. It's a shame.

lkhan Apr 25, 2015 10:02am

Deeply saddened. Yet another bright voice full of empathy for the least favoured lost.. How many people will die in Pakistan before sanity prevails, if it ever will? Heartfelt condolences to all the loved ones of Sabeen Mahmud.

lkhan Apr 25, 2015 10:23am

In Spain, each life that was lost to terrorism was then and till today through associations of civil society, bestowed the respect and deep loss that they deserve. It is time Pakistan build monuments to all those missing, all those killed by terrorism, the innocent lives lost to drones. All these brave people ought to be grieved by the entire nation. There should be a national day to do so when loved ones can go to place flowers, contemplate the monuments dedicated to such senseless loss. Only then can the nation begin healing, and begin to change its ways. Why has this nation lost touch with empathy for those who suffer????

Last comment Apr 25, 2015 10:32am

Another loss of an educated soul

jamil Apr 25, 2015 11:26am

A sad news.I never knew her.Given her profile she certainly was a brave person.I am sure all right thinking people will condemn this cowardly act. May God bless her soul.

Farah Shams Apr 25, 2015 11:36am

It's very sad to lose Sabeen. She represented the voice of hope and a balanced society. What a huge cost to pay to be moderate in an intolerant world! RIP.

Ragu Apr 25, 2015 04:05pm

A great soul; God's gift to humanity.

Fawzia Afzal-Khan Apr 25, 2015 04:54pm

I was one of those many people whom Sabeen welcomed time and again over the past several years at T2F on my trips back home from USA, to share my work as a budding writer, performer and organizer of literary events. I felt safe in her space to read and perform the most out- of- the- box material that would be censored elsewhere. But that was Sabeen's huge and courageous contribution to the arts, to nurturing creative and critical talent: she provided a platform for cultural and political activists to express themselves in ways they may not otherwise have been able to, and to connect with like - minded people to build alliances and long lasting friendships. She embodied the true spirit of a Kinnaird Woman: a fearless, independent pioneer-- in short, a Feminist dedicated to social, political and economic justice. Even as we mourn her untimely and unjust murder, let us honor her legacy by carrying on her vision for a better Pakistan and world.

John Apr 25, 2015 05:19pm

Sad Loss for the country. RIP Sabeen

gul Apr 25, 2015 06:40pm

Great loss for Pakistan! May she rest in peace!

minority Apr 28, 2015 12:56pm

A candle that burned bright .... the light shall remain even after her departure. God bless you and may your loved ones find solace in the fact that you lived a short but full life. Peace