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Zahra Shahid Hussain (Urdu: زہرہ شاہد حسین‎) commonly known as Zara Apa, was a Pakistani activist-politician, teacher and the senior vice president of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Sindh. She had formerly served as the president of women's wing of the party in Sindh, and was a member of the central executive committee of the party.[1] On 18 May 2013, she was assassinated outside her house in the upscale Defence Housing Authority neighborhood in Karachi.[2][3]

Zahra Shahid Hussain
Personal details
BornKarachi, Pakistan
Died18 May 2013
Karachi, Pakistan
Political partyPakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf


According to police, Hussain was ambushed by two people on a motorcycle. Her murder took place on the eve of a highly contested partial rerun of the general election. According to a witness, "The assailants opened soon as she reached the gate of her residence. Apparently they were there to target her only". An eyewitness said that she had handed the attackers her belongings, but they shot her even then.[4] Another report from Dawn News said that "[a]ccording to police, three motorcycle riders tried to steal Hussain’s handbag and opened fire upon resistance" (emphasis added). This report attributed the "handed [the purse] over" report to PTI leader Firdous Shamim.[5]

PTI leader Imran Khan blamed Altaf Hussain, the London-based leader of Karachi's dominant Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party for her murder.[4][6] The MQM chief a few days earlier had used threatening language saying his party workers would teach protesters at Teen Talwar a lesson if he ordered them to do so. Altaf Hussain also threatened to harm those who were hatching conspiracies against MQM and said “I am about to set free my enraged followers if opposition against our party is not stopped”.[5]

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