A leading right activist in Pakistan known for being vocal against Taliban and another radical Islamist group was shot dead while on a dinner with a journalist in an outdoor café in southern port city of Karachi.
Khurram Zaki was with Rao Khalid when four men on two motorcycles fired shots at them killing Zaki on the spot and injuring Khalid and a bystander. Except for 19 empty bullet shells from a .9mm pistol, police have not recovered evidence at the scene that could help trace the culprits' identity.
Taliban function group Hakeemullah quickly owned the responsibility for the attack saying Zaki became a target because of his critical statements against cleric Abdul Azis. But authorities remained cynical because the group often cook up stories of attacks they don't have a part.
"It was premeditated, and we are still verifying of Hakeemullah's claim" Muqadas Haider, a senior police official. Political groups and religious organizations across the country strongly condemned the killing.
A statement issued by the website, where Zaki worked as the editor said the activist had been "a target of a systematic hate campaign" by an Islamist political leader and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Karachi, a progressive metropolis of 20 million people, has earned the reputation for its complex mix of ethnic, sectarian and political violence.
Zaki, a former journalist, was regularly writing dissenting opinion in the website "Let Us Build Pakistan" against the Sunni Muslim sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Taliban and Aziz.
He had even joined a street protest strongly condemning Aziz demanding his incarceration for glorifying the massacre of 134 children of Peshawar school in 2014.
Before the attack, Zaki told a friend that he was on the hitlist of several militant groups. He did not mention names, though.