The Hakimullah Mehsud faction of the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the fatal attack on activist Khurram Zaki in a statement to the media. The group said Zaki was targeted for his views on Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz.
Police, however, said it could not confirm the claim by the Taliban faction. A senior police investigator said that it was more likely a case of target killing and a sectarian attack as both men killed belonged to the Shia community.
The Protest Post Killing
Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Sial has ordered a probe and sought a report from police within 48 hours regarding the killing of human rights activist Khurram Zaki.
Following the incident, protesters carrying the body of Zaki reached the Chief Minister’s House and staged a protest.
Majlid Wehdat-e-Muslimeen has also announced to stage a protest demonstration outside the Chief Minister’s House.
The Killing of Khurram Zaki
Khurram Zaki, a social media campaigner and human rights activist known for his strong stance against religious extremism in Pakistan, was killed last night by unknown assailants in the country’s financial capital of Karachi.
Zaki, 40, was killed by four armed assailants who came on two motorcycles while he was having dinner at a restaurant in Sector 11 of New Karachi.
A journalist, Rao Khalid who was with Zaki and a bystander Aslam were critically wounded in the attack.
The assailants attacked Zaki and Khalid with bullets and Aslam, a bystander was caught in the firing – said Senior Superintendent of Police Muqaddas Haider.
How Zaki Gained Fame
Zaki, a former journalist, gained fame when he launched a Facebook page, “Let Us Build Pakistan” and became editor of a website devoted to working for human rights and spreading liberal religious views.
For the last one year, Khurram Zaki was a target of a systematic hate campaign organised by Deobandi fanatic, Shamsuddin Amjad of the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan in collaboration with the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. In particular, hateful and violence-inciting posters against Khurram Zaki had been published recently by the Mashal Facebook page run by Shamsuddin Amjad, Asad Wasif and a few other pro-Taliban fanatics of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Ali Abbas Taj, LUBP’s Editor-in-Chief
After Irfan Khudi Ali of Quetta, Zaki is the second LUBP editorial team member who has been killed by “Takfiri Deobandi militants”, Taj said.
He had condemned extremism in all forms and came into the limelight when he led a campaign against Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz for inciting hatred against Shia Muslims. He and other campaigners built up pressure and got a case registered against Aziz.
Zaki’s assassination came on the same day that Karachi police announced that they had arrested a prime suspect in the murder of social activist Parveen Rehman who was killed in May 2013.
Parveen who worked for the development of impoverished neighbourhoods in the Orangi town was killed in the same area while returning home.
Last year in September, another prominent social activist and rights campaigner Sabeen Mahmud was also killed in the defence area in Karachi while returning from her office. Her assailants are yet to be nabbed by the police.