A former journalist, Khurrum Zaki was an active campaigner for human rights and a civil society activist has been gunned down by unknown assailants in Karachi. Four suspects riding on two motorcycles opened fire on Zaki while he was eating dinner at a restaurant. Two others, journalist Rao Khalid and bystander Aslam were critically wounded in the attack.
Increasing incidents of target killings have raised question on the performance of law enforcing agencies operating in Karachi. It was being said after success of ongoing operation in Karachi, criminal and terrorist elements have been eliminated. But murder of Zaki has exposed the hollowness of those claims.
Zaki was well known for his stand against religious extremis. He was fearless defender of religious freedom. He was in the media limelight alongside activist Jibran Nasir in a campaign against Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz for inciting hatred in the society.
FIR registered against his murder also includes same cleric and the leader of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’s Karachi chapter Aurangzeb Farooqui, as the perpetrators. It is premature to hold any specific individual responsible for the attack, but one thing is sure intolerance and extremism have gripped our society.
Rights activist Sabeen Mahmud and Rashid Rehman known for their efforts to spread harmony and peace in the country were murdered in the same manner. Our country and particularly Karachi has become dangerous place for those who speak out against religious extremism or in propagation of the values of tolerance and inclusiveness. We should stand against the culture of radicalisation and suppression of rational voices.