World Bulletin / News Desk
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for killing prominent blogger and rights activist Khurram Zaki, who was gunned down in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi late Saturday night.
Qari Saifullah, a purported spokesman for the Hakimullah group of the Pakistani Taliban coalition (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), said in a statement Sunday that Zaki had been targeted for criticizing a prominent cleric associated with Islamabad's Red Mosque.
Zaki, who was riddled with bullets while sitting in a roadside cafe in Karachi's northern district, had recently been leading a campaign against Red Mosque cleric Maluna Abdul Aziz for the latter’s alleged support for militancy.
In 2007, Abdul Aziz's younger brother, Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, along with hundreds of students, was killed in a military operation -- ordered by then military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf -- that had targeted the mosque.
Zaki's murder on Saturday night -- like similar recent assassinations in Bangladesh -- is the latest in a series of attacks on secular bloggers and social activists in Pakistan, mainly in Karachi.
In 2013 and 2015 respectively, suspected militants killed prominent social activists Sabeen Mehmud and Perween Rehman, whose killers the police have since claimed to have arrested.