A tribute to Sabeen Mahmud

Political workers and rights activists take to the street demanding investigation into Sabeen Mahmud’s assassination. — White Star

LAHORE: Political workers and rights activists came together on Tuesday to pay a tribute to Sabeen Mahmud, who was gunned down on Friday soon after she had organised a talk on Balochistan at her T2F café in Karachi.

The participants flashed placards bearing her pictures and chanted slogans demanding investigation of her assassination and vowing to uphold the ideals of the free debate in society.

“This attack on human rights’ defenders, and on human rights itself, is not new,” said Bushra Khaliq at the protest held in front of Lahore Press Club. “But we will not stay silent. Nothing can silence us…. By speaking up again and again, we will silence them.”

Journalist and activist, Hashim bin Rashid mourned at the fact that first Malala was shot by the militants for speaking up, then unknown people belonging to the land mafia shot Parveen Rehman in Karachi and now once again, a free thinker and liberal was shot dead within the hour of holding the talk.

“What will it take for us to realise the seriousness of the issue?” he asked.

Samson Salamat, a Christian activist, said that killing does not keep people quiet, if anything it increases talk. He said that the number of human rights defenders and social activists, including Sabeen Mahmud, Parveen Rehman and Rashid Rehman etc would never be forgotten.

Farooq Tariq, central president of the Awami Workers’ Party, the organiser of the event, said AWP was the first political party to have held such a protest. He demanded that the findings of judicial probe of the cases of the past, such as the attack on Hamid Mir, be made public.

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