Judicial probe ordered into Sabeen Mahmud’s killing, army to cooperate

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  • Maj Gen Bajwa says rights activist’s murder ‘tragic and unfortunate’
  • Karachi police official says murder a ‘clear case of targeted killing’

While Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has ordered a judicial enquiry into the cold-blooded murder of rights activist Sabeen Mahmud, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced that intelligence agencies have been asked to assist in investigations into the “tragic and unfortunate” incident.

ISPR Director General Asim Bajwa took to Twitter to post a short statement Saturday saying that intelligence agencies have been tasked to assist in the investigation of the killing. The ISPR statement comes as an apparent response to mounting criticism on social media in the aftermath of Mahmud’s murder.

Meanwhile, Karachi-South DIG Dr Jamil Ahmed said it was a “clear case of targeted killing” and police are working on few possible motives of the murder. They were also looking into the possibility of involvement of extremist organisations as they believe she was targeted for being a liberal female activist.

Secondly, the police assert that since stability was returning and law and order situation was improving in the city, an “enemy country or its intelligence agency” may have wanted to give a “complicated turn” to it by targeting a prominent rights activist. They are also investigating whether her murder might be related to some “personal enmity”.

“These are some of the aspects on which the investigators are working,” said the South DIG.

To a question, Dr Ahmed revealed that they have got feedback from Sabeen’s injured mother and her friends who disclosed that that she has been receiving threats for the last ‘four to six weeks’.

Through these threats on her mobile phone, Sabeen was asked to “suspend her activities”, said the police officer. He said that they would get the mobile phone record of the slain activist and would also try to get CCTV footage from the crime scene to get any clue about identity of the attackers.

Mahmud was shot dead in Karachi Friday as she made her way home after hosting a seminar about human rights abuses in Balochistan.

The seminar titled “Un-silencing Balochistan Take 2”, featured two prominent Baloch rights activists, Mama Abdul Qadeer and Farzana Baloch, among other speakers.

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Meanwhile a police officer investigating the case told Pakistan Today that the assailants had a mole inside T2F (The Second Floor), a café and arts space.

“It was a coordinated hit. Moreover the CCTV installed at the site of the attack was non-functional for the past several months,” said Defence Police Inspector Rana Lateef, adding that police were checking with residents of the area for any footage that their private CCTVs may have captured on Friday night.