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People chant slogans as they hold signs and pictures of Sabeen Mahmud, a human rights activist who was shot by gunmen, during a protest demanding justice outside the Press Club in Karachi, Pakistan, April 30, 2015.
Akhtar Soomro—Reuters

A policeman who witnessed the murder of prominent Pakistani activist Sabeen Mahmud was himself killed by gun-wielding assailants in the western city of Karachi on Monday evening.

Ghulam Abbas, a constable who worked part-time as Mahmud’s driver, was returning from his evening prayers when he was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle armed with 0.9mm pistols, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

Abbas was sitting in the back seat of the car that Mahmud was driving when she was assassinated in April. He subsequently identified the persons accused of her murder before a magistrate. Mahmud, co-founder of a social activism space called The Second Floor or T2F, was killed soon after organizing a seminar on missing persons in the conflict-ridden province of Balochistan.

Raja Umer Khattab, an official in Pakistan’s counter-terrorism department, said Abbas’ assassination would not affect the case since the accused had already been identified. However, he added, “his murder underlines the urgency of protecting the remaining witnesses.”


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