Assassination

Mother of slain Pakistani activist Sabeen Mahmud shares heartbreaking story

Sabeen Mahmud was a passionate activist in Pakistan, the director of Peace Niche, an NGO which promotes free speech through culture and runs a Karachi cafe where people could where people could freely come together to discuss politics, human rights and social issues. Just six weeks ago, a gunman killed her as she was driving home — the latest in a slew of attacks against liberal activists — while her 64-year old mother, Mahenaz Mahmud, was sitting next to her. Three weeks after Sabeen’s death, an art exhibition she had been working on, titled Dil Phaink (“Throw your heart out there in the world)” opened. Her mother, who still has a bullet in her back, attended the opening. Mahenaz is seen as a “guru” of early childhood education, who helped develop Pakistan’s first early years curriculum and is still running educational programs in the slums. Now, she’s shared her gut-wrenching story of seeing her daughter shot in front of her eyes, with the BBC. Mahenaz talks about her daughter’s incredible and inspiring life, saying that she finds solace in the fact that “she lived a very meaningful, purposeful, mindful life. She did more than most people would do in this short lifespan. And she’s in a safe place now.” Describing how her daughter was a “whole person,” much more than just a human rights activist, Mahenaz concluded, “I want her to be remembered as a human being who cared very deeply for people who were oppressed or people who couldn’t speak up — for freedom of expression. Somebody who was lively, intelligent, fun and very caring. She talked a lot about love. I think Sabeen defies definition.”

Read the full story at BBC.

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