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Rights activist Khurram Zaki killed in Karachi gun attack

Updated May 08, 2016 12:11pm

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Activist Khurram Zaki (center) ─ Source: Khurram Zaki Facebook page
Activist Khurram Zaki (center) ─ Source: Khurram Zaki Facebook page

KARACHI: Unknown assailants gunned down social media campaigner and civil society activist Khurram Zaki on Saturday night in Karachi.

Central District SSP, Muqadas Haider told Dawn.com that four suspects riding on two motorcycles opened fire on Zaki while he was eating dinner at a restaurant in Sector-11B of North Karachi. The activist was killed, and two others – journalist Rao Khalid and bystander Aslam – were critically wounded in the attack.

A former journalist, Zaki was an active campaigner for human rights and was the editor of the website and Facebook page Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP) which claimed to "spread liberal religious views and condemned extremism in all forms".

According to his Twitter profile, Zaki was the former head of current affairs for TV Channel News One, where he looked after Infotainment and religious programming.

Zaki's website Lubpak.com is currently blocked in Pakistan by most ISPs. The site also links to @CriticalPPP on Twitter, which appears to be the official account for LUBP.

Standing up to Lal Masjid

Zaki was last in the media limelight alongside activist Jibran Nasir in a campaign against Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz for inciting hatred against Shia Muslims. The campaigners had managed to get a case registered against Aziz.

Khurram Zaki was 'detained' during the campaign against Lal Masjid - Khurram Zaki's Facebook page
Khurram Zaki was 'detained' during the campaign against Lal Masjid - Khurram Zaki's Facebook page

In his complaint for registration of the case, Zaki had stated that Maulana Aziz and Jamia Hafsa-Lal Masjid released a video message in which the cleric attempted to incite sectarian hatred and violence against Shia Muslims by blaming them for leading the civil society campaign against him and Lal Masjid-Jamia Hafsa. Maulana Aziz also accused Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its officials of supporting and promoting a sectarian agenda by trying to concoct false and fabricated evidence against him. He specifically accused an unnamed serving brigadier in the agency, who he claimed belongs to the Shia sect, Zaki had added.

The activist's complaint further stated that such allegations were obvious and deliberate attempts from Aziz' side to malign and divide the national institution on sectarian lines, by fomenting sectarian hatred among the rank and file of the intelligence agency.

He went on to say that such attempts to scandalise ISI falls out of the fair perimetres of genuine academic criticism of the wrongdoings of any state institution as no evidence was put forward to support his allegations.

Rights activist Sabeen Mahmud, who was also gunned down in Karachi, had taken part in the protest against Lal Masjid as well.

'Killed by sectarian outfits'

A spokesperson of Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen (MWM) said that Khurram Zaki, 40, was not only a prominent civil society activist but also a religious scholar who tended to attend programmes on various TV channels.

The MWM spokesperson said they believed that banned sectarian outfits were involved in this gruesome murder.

Twitter mourns LUBP editor's death

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Comments (103) Closed



papito May 08, 2016 12:45am

Nothing new in Pakistan

Ismail May 08, 2016 12:49am

Told you so. The jahiliyyah brigades strengthened by a deep state fondness for the fruit cake element has emboldened them beyond control. Either that or the chaos agents working for various agendas are out and about. Game of Bones continues in this blighted land.

Noman Aziz May 08, 2016 12:49am

A few weeks ago it was Sabeen's death anniversay. Yesterday it was Rashid Rahman's & today khurram martyred. All unarmed peaceful activists.

Laila May 08, 2016 12:49am

Neither can the establishment get rid of Lal Masjid group or proxies. Has the situation gotten better with a one sided operation? Answer is no. This is why the USA is saying that not enough is being done and they are now proceeding to cut of funding of 1.2 billion dollars in the last week. If we showed that we nailed the Red Mosque cleric through a mlitary court and his croonies maybe the USA would beleive us but when our own people don't seeing Khurram Zaki's death, then there is nothing that can be done.

ahmef May 08, 2016 12:53am

Thanks to national action plan. They are busy in search of Indian spies

kamran shahid May 08, 2016 12:52am

He has been killed on ethnic basis as a karachite,like aftab ahmed was killed 2 days ago..

qadir khan May 08, 2016 12:55am

rangers head quarter is nearby where he was at the hotel...they could not save him or else...

ali fakhar May 08, 2016 12:54am

The operation has been exposed....more than dozens intellectuals not ordinary people killed by terrorists.

Parvez May 08, 2016 12:58am

....and still the government and the establishment mollycoddle people like Abdul Aziz and his like.......WHY ?

Khanjee May 08, 2016 01:02am

If you want to leave safe in Pakistan, make sure don't say anything against government or the extremists. Hide your head in sand like an ostrich

adnan May 08, 2016 01:08am

failure of rangers planning and military + police ops

Laeeq,NY May 08, 2016 01:08am

Our country not ready for liberal voices yet. God bless his soul.

kalhoro May 08, 2016 01:11am

In our country people those who opposes extremist element are dealt with such response. Terrorist groups sets example for everyone. For this incident FIR should be directly registered against Molana Red Mosque but who will have guts to do it as he [molana] has advocate in the shape of Chaudary Nisar. That is why I hate PML-N , they provide breading ground to radical extremist groups.

TZaman May 08, 2016 01:13am

You kill one, five more will forward as replacement. The days of religious intolerance is gone. The ghost of Zia shall not haunt Pakistan anymore. The good Pakistanis shall not allow it.

50 Shades of Khaki May 08, 2016 01:12am

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.

qamar May 08, 2016 01:14am

Shame on one way operation!!!!!!!

HASSAN RAVAIN May 08, 2016 01:18am

RIP Khurram Zaki... Who is next to be... ???:/

Sajjad May 08, 2016 01:23am

Sad news for Pakistan

Philosopher (from Japan) May 08, 2016 01:22am

Rip. He was an honored journalist.

Idealist May 08, 2016 01:25am

I have no words to describe the insanity these religious fanatics are spreading in Pakistan , this is another question mark on Karachi operation .

إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ‎

Salman May 08, 2016 01:28am

It seems that our enemy is doing a lot of research work, its not simple terrorist activity. We have to fight a long war and we have more enemies then friends. The worst thing is that civil government has its own agenda and security of land and people is on their least priority.

Drone May 08, 2016 01:30am

Where is the Writ of the Govt, People are looking at Establishment

qamar May 08, 2016 01:29am

shame!!

sajjad May 08, 2016 01:31am

RIP Khurram, unbelievably brave for our society.

Philosopher (from Japan) May 08, 2016 01:36am

Yet red mosque's firebrand cleric will be roaming freely. Rip.

ArifNayani May 08, 2016 01:37am

National action plan changes to No action plan when comes against target killers of shia community..

Khan , USA May 08, 2016 01:43am

Those who speak against facistism , extremism and authoritarian are always the target !

Salman May 08, 2016 01:47am

Salute to the most courageous man of our times , who took dared spoke up against all the wrongs despite the odds against him. You knew they will ultimately kill you yet you still never gave up.

Zak May 08, 2016 01:47am

Interesting he named Saudi, US and Israel for controlling extremism in pakistan via extremists.

Weirdity May 08, 2016 01:47am

The people at Lal Masjid have responded. Will the government do anything at all?

Raja Ragu Raman May 08, 2016 01:47am

Reality check for Pak... Extremism must be rooted out !!!

muhammad farooq May 08, 2016 01:48am

very unfortunate. This should be thoroughly investigated into and the murderers and master mind should be brought to justice as soon as possible.

Irshad Khan (CAN) May 08, 2016 01:51am

Police should start their investigation with Moulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid who was very unhappy with Khurram Zaki for speaking against Lal Masjid and accusing Moulana Aziz for helping terrorists.

Iqbal May 08, 2016 01:50am

In this law less land the voice of insanity prevails.

May his soul rest in peace.........Ameen.

Muhammad Jamal May 08, 2016 01:55am

It is time to handover Karachi to the rightful stakeholders and elected representatives and allow functioning of Local governments with elected mayor overlooking the security and development of Karachi with matching powers as commanded by the elected London mayor Sadiq Khan.Please listen to sane and patriotic voices.

Kala Ingrez - کالا انگریز - काला अंग्रेज - কালো ইংরাজি May 08, 2016 01:56am

Very sad - all human lives are precious regardless of beliefs - there are other peaceful way of expressing discontent.

krishna May 08, 2016 02:18am

Time is running out. People are getting frustrated. Never know that these killers if found by people would meet their fate right there without any courts. Government to initiate pro-active steps to curb this menace from this country. You can't allow wicked elements to roam within the country with guns/pistols to kill any one and walk out free.

Sachin May 08, 2016 03:04am

Pakistan needs a thousand Khurram Zaki to come out of the grips of jihadism. Salutes and respects to the true martyr of Pakistan Khurram Zaki saab. You will be remembered

Jawaid kamal May 08, 2016 03:49am

RIP dear friend ,deeply sorry for your family. What you did was really a worthy cause ,but really not worth it. You became the newest number in ever growing list of "martyrs"

Tamil Guru May 08, 2016 04:17am

Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. How come Pakistani leaders keep saying "Things are getting better" when such unacceptable acts happen frequently. Very sad news for good Pakistani people.

Najam May 08, 2016 04:53am

It is sad day. One by one they are killing peace activists. They can't tolerate any other ipinion than their own.

Sad day

brar May 08, 2016 05:58am

@kalhoro May the soul of this great human rest in piece, I can not under stand if people like Maulana Aziz are above the law of the land , agreed politicians are not brave enough to open their mouth but the Army also failed to contain his activties where as we know he was responsible for shahdat of Army Officials and civilians.

Cyrus May 08, 2016 06:03am

@Noman Aziz ... ... That is why the average Pakistani does not know the internal enemy Pakistan is dealing with. The average Pakistan does not even consider that the elites themselves may pay target killers for their services, or that the bodyguards of the elite may moonlight as contract killers. "God Damn It Rangers. Clean up the city without killing anybody. It's your God damned job if those target killers kill you. What do you think we are paying you for?" The criminals and terrorists are more committed to freedom than the people of Pakistan. Freedom means responsibility and Pakistanis are running away from freedom at full gallop. People. If you can't manage your lives Islamic State will do that for you. You won't have to make any more decisions. You won't need money or to pay rent. Just follow orders.

Syed Ikram Abidi May 08, 2016 06:06am

A courageous, sane voice that spoke against injustice and tyranny fell silent today but not before indicating who would be responsible for this naked crime. We don't find many people like Khurram Zaki in Pakistani society everyday.

AHMED May 08, 2016 06:11am

Very poor state of affairs. Where we are going, this is not Govt job. Their job to make money and live out side lavish life at the cost of poor Pakistani. Security situation is going down day by day. Every educated person is leaving Pakistan due to poor state affairs. Karachi operation going on for the last so many years but street crime graph going up. You can verify my statement with any body in Karachi.

A. Khan May 08, 2016 06:12am

How can we be so sure about the culprits without any investigation? Could someone take advantage of the situation so the blame goes to someone else?

Ameer Hamza May 08, 2016 06:54am

What a tragedy. This system is messed up.

Mustafa R. May 08, 2016 07:44am

@Laila;

What makes you so sure that USA is against the Lal Masjid fanatics? The extremist element was instrumental in turning the tide against Musharraf and ushering us into the 'democratic' era we currently enjoy.

Mustafa R. May 08, 2016 07:51am

@Salman;

' We have to fight a long war and we have more enemies then friends. '

I beg to differ, our problem is that we can't tell enemies from friends. Less than a decade most of our media was up in arms against general Musharraf in support of Lal Masjid fanatics.

LafangaTaimoorAkzakZak. May 08, 2016 08:15am

The truth is, as long as the state patronizes religious extremism this will keep happening. Pakistan is trapped in its own game. This kind of thing will get you into ten knots by the time you undo one knot. There is no coming out of the trap.

citizen May 08, 2016 08:37am

How come Rangers claim that there is a great improvement in law and order of Karachi? We are back to square one. Heart bleeds for the death of Zaki..

Sherri May 08, 2016 08:49am

We must be thankful as such massacre was going on daily basis since the last decades against innocence karachites, Controlled from few years due to NAP and Zer-be-Azb.. Voice should be raised across the board not against a single group, agenda...

Sherri May 08, 2016 08:54am

Operation should be across the board, not against a single community, specific sector, so & so. Any how we must be thankful to law enforcement agencies for bringing normalcy in whole country since last few years.As such carnages were the happening of every day.

Muhammad Jamal May 08, 2016 09:00am

It is time to handover Karachi to the rightful stakeholders and elected representatives and allow functioning of Local governments with elected mayor overlooking the security and development of Karachi with matching powers as commanded by the elected London mayor Sadiq Khan.Please listen to sane and patriotic voices.

Ashutosh Mishra May 08, 2016 08:59am

Khurram Zaki preceded by Parveen and Sabeen. Inhei sabko shanti milei, hey parmatma!!! Bahut badi durghatna inside Pakistan. Akin to Akhlaq's in Dadri in my country on mere suspicion of possession of beef. Halt it and save the good guys everywhere O people!!!

Omar May 08, 2016 09:19am

Where are we headed? Every reasonable person is killed and no one is doing anything.

Zaheer Jafri May 08, 2016 09:20am

@kalhoro Totally agree with you

Sameer May 08, 2016 09:30am

You gonna blame America for drone attacks for this latest outrage ?? Sometimes I wonder if Pakistan itself was a mistake!! Ordinary Pakistanis...how about those terrorists who are liquidated by Pak Army..instead of getting a burial...get smoked as a final send-off!! Surely, this would deter potential terrorists from incubating ???

talal May 08, 2016 09:56am

done by peace disturbers of karachi well known political party to ruin the outcomes of karachi operation..

Tahir Akbar May 08, 2016 10:00am

Sad to hear that. Freedom of press and speech still a dream.

BTW, the person in the news image shown as Dr Sarfaraz Naeemi is not late Dr Sarfaraz Nameei but his son Dr Raghib Naeemi who is alive. Please make correction.

Xyz May 08, 2016 10:19am

Zaki's website Lubpak.com is currently blocked in Pakistan by most ISPs. Show the state of affairs and mindset in today's Pakistan.

Israr_Ahmed May 08, 2016 10:18am

I live in Karachi, I know the difference in the situation after the operation led by Pak Rangers . It is much much better here. So do not blame rangers for this crime. Rangers can only do an operation based on intelligence. Police however has far more resources, and links to public. Where is the police? Where is the Sindh government? I don't care if the muder was religious based or ethnic or if it is some private personal issue. A murder is a murder and police has to get out and nab the elements. The Sindh government as a whole, and police department specifically, are just non existent when it comes to preempting the crime. Thanks to the murder of merit, and culture of nepotism by our beloved PPP.

Baaligh May 08, 2016 10:34am

@qamar : "shame". Yes sure. But shame on whom ? Shame only on the concerned killers and their group / outfits only ? Or shame...rather much more shame on all those who protect, finance and support / connive with the banned outfits too. It is beyond comprehension as to why the facilitators / financiers are not being apprehended. Choking of foreign funding to terrorists was / is there on NAP points but nothing seems to have been done in this respect.

Amon May 08, 2016 10:33am

very sad

Syed Irfan Ali May 08, 2016 11:02am

Enlightened souls being killed at the hands of barbaric armed beasts. When will it end?

Zulfiqar May 08, 2016 11:17am

He is killed by same people who killed Shahzad Saleem. I am scared to name them here...

Zain May 08, 2016 11:18am

Every one stood up to eliminate the killers of this peace full society

Zain May 08, 2016 11:22am

Todays is the day to raise your voice,before our enemy stop it like KZ.

Ali May 08, 2016 11:29am

We mourn and mourn and mourn......that's is all we are left with. Licking the wounds with no one to listen to!

RAJA CHILL May 08, 2016 11:59am

Just expressing condolence on forum is not enough to push away devils. Need mass protests on streets to get heard.

aman May 08, 2016 12:20pm

I don't understand why either side has to go to so much extreme to keep staring controversy and confrontation, why can't people use wisdom and take it easy in a society which is always an edge? Why people want to fix everything over night? These useless deaths will only stop when people choose path of less confrontation and more dialog and allow each other some space and opinion sharing no matter how different they are from one another.

najeeb May 08, 2016 12:36pm

Thank you raheel sharif, this politically motivated operation is fully exposed.

saeeds May 08, 2016 12:38pm

i don't know how to apprehend these killer . They live among us they are our family ,friend or neighbor . Only perquisite to join these groups are practice Muslim and hate for system and democracy. Pretty much everyone set in this criteria .

future May 08, 2016 12:39pm

Another sane voice shut by those who want to maintain status quo

Mir kareem jan May 08, 2016 12:41pm

R.I.P..Mr. Khurram Zaki , we will miss you ever and we know who are your killers.

kk May 08, 2016 12:58pm

Now army chief should see why it has happened? As it is very few ray of hope and that too are being made silent.

Elya May 08, 2016 01:21pm

For how long...?

VILAS May 08, 2016 01:33pm

One step ahead...two..steps back...Karachi & Pakistan need help..the government is busy in its own muddled web..

Syed May 08, 2016 02:02pm

@ahmef I'm surprised u mentioned !

Muhammad May 08, 2016 02:11pm

@Noman Aziz MQM stood against these fanatical forces in 80's but they are being pressurized and asked to lay their arms which they took up in their defense and against these extremist forces but these extremist forces are free to carry weapons and kill any opposing voice with full impunity anywhere in the city

Tariq Cheema May 08, 2016 02:10pm

Now, we will endlessly watch pseudo intellectuals condemning the attack on TV channels saying "but" at the end. Time has come to consider all of them "facilitators."

Muhammad May 08, 2016 02:13pm

@Baaligh You have said all

akram May 08, 2016 02:13pm

why are these murderers not being found that is the question the Sindh CM should be asking. The public should be out on the streets (peacefully) and remove him from office if he is not able to safe guard Karachi.

We must not let these talibanis silence the voice of liberal Pakistan for that is what they want. They want us to all be afraid. Rather we should be louder and more forthright in demanding change and justice.

waheed khaksar May 08, 2016 02:30pm

@Elya until day of judgement

Muhammad May 08, 2016 03:13pm

@Muhammad Jamal Day dreaming

mba May 08, 2016 03:28pm

Dear Mr. Zaki, the fight for human rights and for a liberal Pakistan goes on. Please Please God Almighty, let there be some light in my country.

Arabian Sea May 08, 2016 03:39pm

@Israr_Ahmed

You say where is the police. I say where is the local in the police. Where is the local in the administration. Where is the local except among the victims.

Hasrat May 08, 2016 04:06pm

Where us NAP. Banned outfit are still freed and innocent schlors are killed

Mohammad Fida May 08, 2016 07:00pm

their is a 'legal right' and 'legal wrong' which provides lawyers within a glance the scenario of our jurisprudence. He was following 'legal wrong' worried for those held in a serial killing of 70,000+ innocents and further a million others became physically disabled after sustaining injuries. He should have worked for the legal right by helping provide from state and society some solide monthly pension etc for the disabled but he got worried for those under arrest for doing the heinous crime knowing that state was at war with them. His personal outlook shows that he was keeping a secret forwarding the cause of murders which in normal scenario lawyers do it in our judicial system but in case of internal and external warfare they just work for the legal right without deceiving or paving the ways to save the killers while under target. Law provides for every possible remedy to any one but one can't cross the skull and cross bones sign for own security.

Ali Vazir May 09, 2016 01:58am

We will never forget you Khurram Bhai. Let us pledge to stand by the voices of humanity, equality and justice, before they are silenced.

Nino May 09, 2016 08:13am

a prayer for the departed soul!

El Chapo May 09, 2016 09:34am

Believe me or not. There is an outside source who is killing Pakistani heroes. Selectively targeting intellectuals and activists. This is to show the world that Pakistan can never be a safe country.

Baaligh May 09, 2016 11:02am

@Zak : "Interesting he named Saudi, US and Israel for controlling extremism in pakistan via extremists." Not an iota of doubt about it, as all those who want to know facts are well aware of this fact...except those few who never ever tend to agree to facts / truth due to it being bitter.

Murtaza May 09, 2016 11:07am

Rest in Peace Khurram bhai

Baaligh May 09, 2016 11:09am

@Muhammad : But who killed Hakeem Said the great ? At that time there were no terrorist groups.

N D Gaur May 09, 2016 11:26am

Preening over Sadiq Khan becoming London Mayor while killing civil rights activists in their own country and keeping minorities away from top posts! Strange indeed!!

atis May 09, 2016 01:02pm

Islam and scientific outlook can not coexist together

Sane May 09, 2016 02:58pm

Sanctity of human life is unquestionable and KZ's murderers should be brought to justice.

True Karachiwala May 09, 2016 04:51pm

Sabeen Mehmood, Parveen Rehman, Khurram Zaki Dr.Shakeel Auj, numerous doctors, lawyers, engineers killed in "Karachi" only, why ? Did any one hear voices like those mentioned above any where in Pakistan except Karachi ? Whatever be the cost but don not let Karachi move forward because it's the intellectual, political, social, and cultural think tank of Pakistan. Karachi leads by example. It energizes the society. And the rotten and black forces that create, harbour, and use sectarian, tribal barbarians to protect their vested interest and diabolical socio-political system wont loose their grip on Karachi.

Karim USA May 09, 2016 06:27pm

@Sachin True, the problem though is that Pakistan had one Zaki and thousands of Lal Masjid type clerics. The government and the society had to systematically eradicate the spread of extremism and their hands off policy on the so called clerics.

Eramanagalam Somapalan May 09, 2016 06:37pm

It is cowardly and cruel act. Nothing heroic about it.Mr.Zaki was a brave man and the murders cowardly.

Kuvempu May 09, 2016 08:46pm

Anyone who has seen the kind of congregation during Mamtaz qadri death ceremony, anyone who has seen how Junaid was attacked at airport, anyone who has seen the audiance during the screening of sharmeen obaid's movie who were cheering for the father who honour killed his daughter, will understand how deeply country is radicalized. Jarb e azb is doing just 10% of the work. Ramaining 90% is with modern education.

k k tiwari May 09, 2016 10:22pm

@ahmef Well said sir