Did Pakistan’s Military Intelligence ISI assassinate a Human Rights Activist for her work on Balochistan?

“If Pakistan was just any developing nation, the significance of Mahmud’s assassination, while tragic and outrageous, would not matter to the extent it now does. That’s because Pakistan is a nuclear power run by a cabal of power-hungry generals in partnership with death-cult jihadi terrorists. Too much is at stake for the rest of the world to allow Sabeen Mahmud to die in vain.”

Masthead

SabeenApril 29, 2015

Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun

Sabeen Mahmud joked on her Twitter profile she was willing to “die for Hugh Laurie”.

Instead, she was assassinated last Friday night, a martyr for Balochistan’s war of independence from Pakistan.

Mahmud, 40, was not your typical human rights activist.

She flaunted her love of Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen on social media, even as she hosted lectures in her Karachi cafe-cum-library on the “forced disappearances” of Balochistan’s rag-tag nationalist rebels.

After being warned not to play host to Balochistan activists and refusing to back down, she was shot dead by “unknown gunmen”, according to reports.

But to informed observers, the prime suspects were obvious.

Declan Walsh, the London-based Pakistan bureau chief for the New York Times, who was expelled in May 2013, tweeted:

“Pakistani military, facing accusations of involvement in killing of @Sabeen, says it will assist investigators.”

A prominent female opposition member in Pakistan’s parliament tweeted, “You speak you die. ISI’s message to all those speaking up for Balochistan.” Within hours, she had deleted her tweet.

(The ISI is Pakistan’s military intelligence agency.)

Pakistan’s military denied any involvement, tweeting that its, “Int(elligence) agencies (have) been tasked 2 render all possible assistance 2 investigating agencies 4 apprehension of perpetrators & (to) bring them to justice.”

Few paid heed to these hollow words.

To suppress challenges to its authority in the past, the Pakistani military has routinely intervened directly, or used its “non-state” Islamist militias, to do its dirty work.

The army is trying to portray Mahmud’s killing as the act of Islamist jihadis, upset by her liberal views. However, the words of the murdered activist recorded last year, suggest otherwise.

In 2014 while visiting London, Mahmud told the BBC she was facing death threats from unidentified individuals and harassment from Pakistan’s military intelligence agencies, upset about her human rights work for Balochistan.

She said at the time:

“We’ve done a lecture series on Balochistan that resulted in some visits by the (intelligence) agencies. They have come and taken all our information, our bank statements, lists of our employees. They wanted everyone’s home address and telephone numbers. Not quite sure what triggered the visits, but we think it is the Balochistan work we did.”

Despite what the military says, the killing of Mahmud may turn out to be a difficult crime to cover up.

No less a figure than the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, has expressed her outrage.

She tweeted: “Devastating news of brutal murder of #SabeenMahmud, a bright symbol of tolerance & nonviolence. Pakistan must hold her killers to acct.”

In London, Burzine Waghmar of The Centre for the Study of Pakistan at the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) told Lyse Doucette of the BBC, he had no hesitation in placing responsibility for Mahmud’s murder “squarely and emphatically … at the doorstep of the ISI.”

If Pakistan was just any developing nation, the significance of Mahmud’s assassination, while tragic and outrageous, would not matter to the extent it now does.

That’s because Pakistan is a nuclear power run by a cabal of power-hungry generals in partnership with death-cult jihadi terrorists.

Too much is at stake for the rest of the world to allow Sabeen Mahmud to die in vain.

The mullah-military nexus of terror in Islamabad needs to be roped in. For a start, we need to work towards helping Balochistan end the occupation.

2 comments for “Did Pakistan’s Military Intelligence ISI assassinate a Human Rights Activist for her work on Balochistan?

  1. Khurram
    April 29, 2015 at 11:40 PM

    A good propaganda article giving Indian point of view. Writers pay masters

  2. sridhar
    August 6, 2016 at 6:00 AM

    Indoctrinated pakistanis will continue to deny ISI killed Sabin.
    Goebbels said that a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.
    In Pakistan today, lie HAS become the truth.
    Lie that Pakistan is created for eternity while the truth is that Pakistan died in 1972 with liberation of Bangladesh and what we have today is not Pakistan but Bakistan.
    Lie of muslim brotherhood when 2 Pakis can’t get together in the same street without fighting and 2 mullahs can’t decide on the timing of moon sighting!
    Lie that muslims ruled India for a thousand years while the truth is most muslims of Indian subcontinent were converted by muslim invaders who were Arabs, Turks, Afghans etc.
    So, telling them that Sabin was murdered by ISI won’t stick.
    When Pakistan disintegrated under the weight of its own contradictions, then of course truth will come to the fore but few Pakis will be left to appreciate that truth!

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