Sabeen Mahmud, a Pakistani social activist who ran Karachi’s Second Floor cafe, was shot dead Friday by unknown gunmen in the port city.
The Dawn newspaper reports that Mahmud and her mother were on their way home from the cafe, known locally as T2F, at 9 p.m. local time when they were attacked. She died on her way to the hospital, the newspaper reported; doctors retrieved five bullets from her body. Her mother is in critical condition, the newspaper added.
The cafe had hosted an event called “Unsilencing Balochistan” — which Mahmud had posted about on Instagram.
T2F was designed as a “community space for open dialogue” and had become a haven in a city that is one of Pakistan’s most violent. NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston interviewed Mahmud in 2013. Here’s what she said about Mahmud’s work:
“If you were in Greenwich Village or SoHo in New York, this would sound like more of the same. But this being Pakistan, the Second Floor is unusual. When lawyers demonstrated after then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf fired dozens of senior judges in 2007, demonstrators planned their next moves at the Second Floor.”
Tributes poured in on social media — with an outpouring of grief directed at the killing and toward the general security situation in Pakistan. Here is a sample: