Sabeen Mahmud earned a godmother status in the eyes of Karachi’s underdogs as a foundational counterculture figure. As a teenager and young adult, she spent her time trying to drop out of school and replacing motherboards on some of the first Mac computers that were available in Pakistan, while simultaneously learning how to master the depths of the Internet. She dreamed of a Karachi that existed during her parents’ youth in the 1960s: tea houses filled with poetry and political discussion; long nights of loud music at the local clubs. She opened T2F in 2007, a DIY space that became an instant success in her creative circles—a LGBTQ friendly, alternative outpost that welcomed Karachi's progressive left. It also became a destination for the city's musical underground to rehearse and perform. On April 24, while I was visiting friends in Karachi, two armed motorcyclists pulled up to Sabeen Mahmud's car and began shooting. The 40-year-old was hit in the neck and chest; one bullet went through her face and struck her mother, who was sitting beside her in the passenger seat and survived. Sabeen was pronounced dead that same night.
I was lucky to meet, talk and photograph Sabeen just before her sudden and tragic murder that changed the lives of my friends and her community forever. Read the full story on Pitchfork
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