KARACHI: Sabeen Mahmud, rights activist and founder of social forum The Second Floor, might have been targeted by religious extremists, said a senior police official on Wednesday.
“A strong possibility is that Sabeen was targeted by a banned militant outfit,” said DIG-South Dr Jamil Ahmed while addressing a press conference at his office.
In reply to a question, the police officer told the media that two years ago, ‘tension’ had been created over Valentine’s Day. He said Sabeen had played a ‘leading role’ in support of observing Valentine’s Day by holding a demonstration on Mai Kolachi Road.
Since then, she had been receiving threats from ‘unknown quarters’, he added.
Also read: A tribute to Sabeen Mahmud
Dr Jamil said these and other clues had emerged during his talks with her colleagues at T2F on Tuesday. During the talks that lasted two and a half hours, SSP South Tariq Dharejo, SSP Investigation Faizullah Korejo and Defence SHO Kansan Dean accompanied the DIG-South.
“She was a strong believer of freedom and was not doing anything wrong but unfortunately she had to pay the price in shape of her life,” said Dr Jamil.
“I wish she had conveyed these threats to the police so that we could have arranged security for her and her institution, T2F,” added the officer.
The police investigators could get more clues about possible motive for the murder after meeting Sabeen’s mother, Mahnaz Mahmud, who was wounded in the armed attack on their car in Defence on Friday evening. She was discharged from hospital on Tuesday evening.
Terming the murder a ‘blind case’ and ‘challenging’ for the police investigators, the DIG said the CCTV footage received from the Defence Officers Housing Authority did not provide much help to the investigators about the identity of the attackers.
He regretted that a post-mortem examination report was not useful as it just mentioned that the bullets were fired from a close range from 0.9mm pistol. The bullets used in the attack did not match those being used in other targeted attacks in Karachi, he added.
“We have decided geo-fencing and have identified certain suspicious mobile phone numbers in the crime scene area,” said Dr Jamil.
There was no witness to the incident, he said, as the driver who remained unhurt in the attack told the police that he ducked down behind the front seats on the attackers’ arrival.
“We have not talked to the victim’s mother so far and we hope that she saw the attackers,” said the officer.
Suspect killed in ‘encounter’
Earlier, the officer said police killed a suspected gangster, Tahir, in an alleged encounter in the Mochko area on Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect was allegedly involved in the Shershah carnage that left 14 shopkeepers dead over non-payment of extortion in October 2010. Two other suspected gangsters, Mohammed Amir and Asif alias Qayamat, were gunned down in another encounter in Mithadar area late Tuesday night, the officer said.
This month alone, 32 suspects allegedly involved in targeted killings, grenade attacks, and hijacking cargo vehicles were gunned down in ‘encounters’ with police in Lyari, Dr Jamil said.
The officer said Lyari was the most sensitive area of the police south zone, as most complaints received in other areas pertained to street crime.
Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2015