Secular Party Candidate Killed In Pakistan

The people of Pakistan are just weeks away from achieving a historical election — whatever the result. The Pakistani Taliban do not like this, not one bit. If a government is successfully elected in the general election on the 11th of May, it will be first time Pakistan has ever successfully peacefully transitioned between two elected governments. To give you a sense of how momentus this could be, the forthcoming election will be the 11th general election for Pakistan since 1962.

One man who sadly won’t get to see this happen is Fakhrul Islam. A 46-year-old grocer from the southern city of Hyderabad, Kakrul was a candidate for the secular (in this case, meaning “not representing Islam”) Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), part of the outgoing coalition government which has previously been threatened by Pakistan’s Taliban. He is the first candidate to be killed in current election campaign.

Relatives and local residents during the funeral of Fakhrul Islam in Hyderabad (The Telegraph)

He was killed by gunmen on motorcycles when he left the shop he owned with his father, police said. The Taliban immediately claimed (ir)responsibility for the attack. In response Pakistan’s interim prime minister, Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, ordered an immediate tightening of security for all candidates.

A spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban said:

The killing is part of our war with secular parties including MQM, Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party, which committed genocide of our tribal people and Muslims while remaining in power for five years.

In recent propaganda video, Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has told Pakistanis to stay away from the elections:

We are not in favor of democracy, democracy is for Jews and Christians. They are intended to divide Muslims, we want the implementation of Sharia law and for that jihad is necessary.

The Pakistani Taliban have warned parties and politicians who have been part of the outgoing government that they are targets for attack.

About Mark Turner

Mark Turner was born and raised as a Catholic in the North East of England, UK. He attended two Catholic schools between the ages of five and sixteen. A product of a moderate Catholic upbringing and an early passion for science first resulted in religious apathy and by mid-teens outright disbelief.


  • Alexander Ryan

    Well, there’s your problem right there — you shouldn’t wait until someone dies to have added security.

  • Sara

    What a brave man Fakhrul Islam was. It is reassuring to see from the photo that his relatives and neighbors think enough of him to pay their respects. Justice needs to be served promptly. Violence in the name of religion is pitiful and should not be tolerated.

  • novenator

    Atheists are the most persecuted minority in the world. This slaying is an outrage!

  •!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

    So so sad. I hope this just makes them stronger & the Taliban weaker. Why does their god need them to prevent having his feelings hurt? The butchery & stupidity of these religious idiots is boundless. Let’s all hope that one day Pakistan can be a truly free nation where no-one need live in fear!

  • Sven2547

    There is an important parallel to be drawn here to the acid attacks on schoolgirls: the fundamentalists are afraid. They are afraid of people, especially women, getting an education. They are afraid of people experiencing secular thought and government.

    When people learn more about the world, and see it for themselves instead of through the clouded lens of fundamentalism, then the fundies lose their grip on power.

    The murder of Fakhrul Islam was a terrible and heinous act. But it is a symptom of a greater phenomenon: they are afraid of people like Fakhul. He must have done something right.

  • Artor

    It’s not like nobody could have guessed that murderous Islamists might be active in Pakistani elections or anything. Who could have anticipated such a thing?

  • Artor

    The Taliban stays relevant because most people fear them. If they keep up with shit like this, then people will be enraged by them, and I think the whole game will change at that point.

  • Richard Wade

    We are not in favor of democracy, democracy is for Jews and Christians. They are intended to divide Muslims, we want the implementation of Sharia law and for that jihad is necessary.

    To be more to the point, they should change that to:

    “We are not in favor of the 21st century, the 21st century is for Jews and Christians. The 21st century is intended to confuse Muslims. We want a return to the 7th century, and for that jihad is necessary.”

  • LesterBallard

    This is good news. At least no young girls were shot in the head because they want an education; no young girls were beheaded because their father refused a marriage proposal. Baby steps.

  • Bdole

    ” democracy is for Jews and Christians”

    As are science, technology, medicine, a 21st century standard of living, low infant mortality rates, etc?

    These guys are worse than any external enemy. A land/resource dispute might affect border areas and some mineral rights but these people want to reduce the entire population to abject barbarism.

  • busterggi

    The Teavangelicals in the US are going to be sooooooooooooooo jealous.

  • King Dave @ Newsvine

    Thank you for having the courage to speak of Islam in less than a positive light. Liberals attack any criticisms of Islam as racist or war mongering. They will call you a bigot, or even worse in their opinion, a Christian.

  • Tom

    Can there be some kind of rule that says when your organisation has utter and open contempt for democracy, you don’t get to have an election candidate?

    I’m grimly amused by this Mehsud character’s demonstration that he hasn’t even fully grasped how this democracy thing he hates actually works, or he might have realised how spectacularly idiotic it is to tell his own followers, i.e. the people most likely to swing the vote towards something he’d be in favour of (or at least hate marginally less than the alternatives), to stay away from the election!