Gunmen shot dead a Pakistani human rights activist on Friday after she hosted a talk on the politics of Baluchistan province, where security forces are fighting a separatist insurgency, police and associates said.
Sabeen Mahmud was leaving her Karachi restaurant, where she also holds exhibitions and talks, when the gunman attacked her in her car. Her mother, who was with her, was wounded, police said.
“Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot her. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead,” senior police official Tariq Dharejo said, adding police were investigating the killing.
Mahmud had just hosted a seminar called “Unsilencing Baluchistan”, focussing on the disappearance of political activists in the southwestern province.
The talk was originally due to be held early this month at a university in Lahore but authorities blocked it, media reported at the time.
Rights activists accuse the security forces of carrying out extra-judicial 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 their province’s mineral and gas resources are unfairly exploited by Pakistan’s richer provinces.