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Pakistani Activist Fatally Shot in Karachi

Karachi, Pakistan
Karachi, Pakistan

A Pakistani activist who ran Karachi's Second Floor cafe was shot dead late Friday by unknown gunmen in the port city.

Sabeen Mahmud and her mother were on their way home from the cafe, known locally as T2F, when they were attacked in her car. She died on her way to the hospital.

"Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot her," senior police official Tariq Dharejo said, adding that police were investigating the killing.

Doctors said they extracted five bullets from Mahmud's body. Her mother, who was also shot, remains in critical condition.

Conceived as a bookstore and cafe patterned after the old coffeehouse culture of Lahore and Karachi, T2F says on its website that it was born out of a desire to enact transformational change in urban Pakistani society.

Earlier in the day, Mahmud had hosted an event at the cafe about rights abuses in restive Baluchistan province, featuring two prominent Baluch activists, Mama Abdul Qadeer and Farzana Baluch, among other speakers. The talk was to have been held earlier this month at a university in Lahore, but authorities blocked it, media reported at the time.

Rights activists accuse security forces of carrying out extrajudicial killings of separatists in the province. Hundreds of people have disappeared and later been found dead in recent years. The security forces deny any role in the killings.

The army has vowed to end the Baluchistan insurgency being waged by separatists who say Pakistan's richer provinces are exploiting their province's mineral and gas resources.

Some information for this report came from Reuters.

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