Sabeen Mahmud

Terrible news out of Pakistan – another valuable person murdered. Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi today.

The Mary Sue did a write-up about her two years ago.

Sabeen Mahmud (above, in blue), who says she fell in love with technology the first time she ever saw a Mac, just organized Pakistan’s first ever Hackathon last month, aimed specifically at finding ways to use technology to fix or at least alleviate Pakistan’s political problems. According to a piece by Wired, the gathering was pretty amazing for everyone involved.

Mahmud runs a small technology firm, but hosted the gathering of forty (whittled down from 120 applications) in her café The Second Floor, which she founded because she felt Karachi, the most populous city in Pakistan, needed “a space where people could gather around shared interests, an interdisciplinary space for collaboration and brainstorming.” And even though she’d done no research and was living with family at the time, Mahmud felt that she was the woman for the job.

So, naturally, they killed her. God damn it.

From Dawn:

Sabeen, accompanied by her mother, left T2F after 9pm on Friday evening and was on her way home when she was shot by unidentified gunmen, sources confirmed. She died on her way to the hospital. Doctors said they retrieved five bullets from her body.

Her mother also sustained bullet wounds and is currently being treated at a hospital; she is said to be in critical condition.

T2F had on Friday organised a talk on Balochistan: ‘Unsilencing Balochistan Take 2: In Conversation with Mama Qadeer, Farzana Baloch & Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur.’

A talk. Talks are not allowed, I guess.

T2F, described as a community space for open dialogue, was Sabeen’s brainchild. In an interview with Aurora, she referred to it as “an inclusive space where different kinds of people can be comfortable.”

Conceived as a bookstore and café patterned after the old coffeehouse culture of Lahore and Karachi, The Second Floor — or T2F, as everyone calls it — says on its website that it was born out of a desire to enact transformational change in urban Pakistani society.

And now she’s dead.

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Wasay Jalil on Twitter


  1. says

    The Pakistani government makes no serious effort to prevent or punish such crimes. It’s another case of silence equalling consent and encouragement, even if it’s not intended to be.

  2. luzclara says

    Awful. Many condolences to her friends and family, and to the rest of us who wish good persons in Pakistan were not being shot all the time.

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