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The ALDE Group condemns the murder of Pakistani human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud

Sabeen Mahmud The killing of Sabeen Mahmud, one of the most outspoken human rights advocates in Pakistan, worsens the situation of those fighting for fundamental rights and freedoms in this country. She was shot four times at close range right after an event hosted by her in Karachi on "Unsilencing Balochistan". Her mother has been wounded in the attack as well. ALDE Group Leader, Guy Verhofstadt, says the authorities in Karachi have to guarantee freedom of speech and protect those fighting for human rights: "The murder of Sabeen Mahmud, a courageous woman who tirelessly defended human rights, is a blow to democracy in Pakistan. We urge the Pakistani authorities to investigate this murder and to protect human rights activists. A free civil society is a vital element of a pluralist, stable and prosperous Pakistan.ALDE MEP, Marietje Schaake, calls on Pakistani authorities to bring to justice those responsible for this murder: "This murder is not only a cowardice act, but the targeted attack on Ms. Sabeen Mahmud is an attack on the values she sought to develop in Pakistan: pluralism and secularism. Her murder constitutes yet another example of the silencing of dissenting voices in Pakistan. It is essential that the authorities guarantee the safety of activists and journalists and that an independent investigation into the crimes committed ensures they do not go unpunished." Balochistan is the largest and least densely populated province in Pakistan. Since 2005, separatists have been leading multiple armed guerilla campaigns against the state. Baloch rights activists say the Pakistani authorities are trying to silence all those defending the dissidents.