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Pakistani activist who condemned religious extremism slain

By
Allen Cone
Human rights activist Khurram Zaki, 40, was gunned down at a restaurant in Karachi on Saturday night. Photo courtesy Let Us Build Pakistan website
Human rights activist Khurram Zaki, 40, was gunned down at a restaurant in Karachi on Saturday night. Photo courtesy Let Us Build Pakistan website

KARACHI, Pakistan, May 8 (UPI) -- A prominent human rights activist who denounced Islamic extremists in his homeland, was gunned down late Saturday night at a restaurant in Karachi.

Four suspects opened fired on Zaki, 40, while he was at a restaurant, a police official said. He was killed in the attack that also injured a friend who was a bystander.

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Police don't know who was behind the attack but the Hakimullah faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.

"Our four friends in Karachi riding on two motorcycles targeted Khurram Zaki successfully," faction spokesman Qari Saifullah said.

Zaki was the editor of the website and Facebook page Let Us Build Pakistan with a goal to "spread liberal religious views and condemn extremism in all forms."

Staff at the website paid tribute to their colleague and vowed to continue opposing militants.

Zaki opposed Maulana Abdul Aziz, a prominent leader of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad who refused to condemn the Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 146 people.

Fellow activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir said Zaki told him that he was getting threats from unknown sources.

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