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22-year-old Pakistani social media activist killed

ISLAMABAD — Police in Islamabad say a popular Pakistani blogger and social-media activist has been killed by an attacker with a knife.

Islamabad Police Superintendent Saddar Malik Naeem said 22-year-old Muhammad Bilal Khan was killed on the evening of June 16 in central Islamabad’s G-9 area.

Khan had more than 16,000 followers on Twitter, 48,000 on his YouTube channel, and more than 22,000 followers on Facebook.

He often wrote about Islam, advocating the coexistence of rival sects within Sunni and Shi’ite Islam.

Khan also recently organized a Twitter campaign that brought attention to cases of forced disappearances of Pakistanis who allegedly were abducted by military and intelligence authorities.

In one of his last Twitter posts, Khan on June 16 sarcastically criticized the newly appointed director-general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, hard-line General Faizi Hameed.

Islamabad’s police superintendent said Khan received a phone call on June 16 while he was at the home of his uncle in Islamabad’s northeastern Bara Kahu neighborhood.

He said the caller instructed him to go to the G-9 neighborhood in central Islamabad, where he was met by a man who took him into a wooded area nearby and attacked him.

Naeem said that while the attacker used a knife to kill Khan, gunshots also were fired.

The blogger’s father, Abullah Khan, said he had cuts and marks from a sharp tool on several parts of his body.

An uncle of Khan who accompanied him after he’d received the phone call on June 16 was injured by the attackers, Naeem said.


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