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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