Parveen Rehman: Brave development engineer silenced by assassins’ guns 1957 - March 13 2013 Print E-mail

Pakistan ~ March 14, 2013, Juamda-Al-Awwal 01 1434 A.H.

Parveen Rehman: a fighter for the poor silenced

Our Staff Reporter

Social Worker Parveen Rehman who was gunned down near her office on 13th March 2013

KARACHI: A media-shy social worker who devoted her life to the development of the impoverished neighbourhoods across the country, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on Wednesday. She was 56.

Parveen Rehman was born in Dhaka in 1957. She did part of her schooling in the former East Pakistan and migrated to Karachi after the fall of Dhaka.

She received a bachelor’s of engineering in architecture from Karachi’s Dawood College of Engineering and Technology in 1981 and joined a private architect’s firm.

A few months later, she left the job and joined the Orangi Pilot Project initiated by Akhtar Hameed Khan to bring healthy changes to the lives of impoverished residents of Orangi.

“The late Akhtar persuaded her to join the OPP. We both joined the OPP in 1982 and since then we worked in close association,” said Anwer Rashid, co-director of the OPP-RTI (Orangi Pilot Project-Research and Training Institute).

Mr Rashid choked on words as he described his working relationship with Ms Rehman.

Noted town planner Arif Hasan, who is member of the OPP’s board, briefly visited Ms Rehman’s home and left early as he was deeply distressed like dozens of her friends and colleagues who had gathered at her house in Safari Boulevard in Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

“She was a courageous and brave lady. She was a true pupil of Akhtar Hameed Khan who worked in an environment where most people will avoid to work,” said Mr Rashid.

Soon after the private TV networks flashed news of her death, a large number of people flocked to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where her body had been shifted.

Eyewitnesses said those who gathered in the hospital and outside her home, where she was living alone with her octogenarian mother, included dozens of residents of Orangi who were mourning her death.

“She was a great help for us. She was just like an elder sister to whom we would go whenever a problem struck us,” said a middle-aged man who identified himself as Azmat Ali.

Arif Pervez, development professional and a friend of hers, said Ms Rehman had been receiving death threats for a long time, apparently from the mafia involved in grabbing precious land on the fringes of the city.

“She had been receiving threats on her life for a long time. We had discussed this several times but every time I advised her to take care of herself, she smiled, waved her hand and said what will they do, I have to work a lot and that too in the middle of the people,” Mr Pervez said.

Ms Rehman was an ardent compiler of the record of precious lands, which were on the fringes of the city in shape of villages but were speedily vanishing into its vastness because of ever-increasing demand by thousands of families who were shifting to Karachi every year from across the country.

She said on record that around 1,500 goths (villages) had been merged into the city since 15 years. Land-grabbers subdivided them into plots and earned billions by their sale.

“She documented everything about the lands that have been grabbed. Another sin of her was to help those whose lands had been grabbed. Yet, she never hesitated to go to the area where her life was constantly under threat,” Mr Pervez said.

“Many people certainly have lost their elder sister,” he said.

Noman Ahmed of NED University said Ms Rehman’s great achievement was to get involved and empower communities in development work.

“She involved communities in development work and her cautious endeavour was to empower people and lessen their sense of deprivation. Her motto was way forward. She saw it as a defeat to terrorists by not changing her routine to help people,” Mr Ahmed said.

Besides her mother, Ms Rehman is survived by her two brothers and a sister, living abroad.
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 Pakistan ~ March 14, 2013, Juamda-Al-Awwal 01 1434 A.H.

Parveen Rehman laid to rest

From Web Edition

KARACHI: The funeral prayer of Parveen Rehman the late director of the Orangi Pilot Project was held at her residence in Gulistan-e-Jauhar. Her funeral was attended by individuals belonging to all walks of life.

She was laid to rest at the Mohammad Shah graveyard.

Earlier, a case into the murder of Parveen Rehman, the late director of Orangi Pilot Project, was registered in Pirabad Police Station in the precincts of which she was shot dead on Wednesday, while a suspension was slapped on the stationhouse officer (SHO.

Unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles shot dead the prominent woman development worker, police said.

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 Thursday March 14 2013

OPP director Parveen Rehman shot dead in city

KARACHI: Prominent social activist, educationist and director of Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), Parveen Rehman was shot dead near Banaras flyover within the jurisdiction of Pirabad police station on Wednesday.

According to police, gunmen riding motorcycles shot her while she had been traveling from Orangi with her driver. She was shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) where doctors pronounced her dead. The motive behind her murder remains unclear but the incident appears to be a case of targeted killing, say officials investigating the case.

The fifty-year-old had been serving in the Visual Studies department at the University of Karachi. In addition to that, she was the director of Orangi Pilot Project and had been instrumental in devising ways to deal with sanitation problems.

  Rehman headed a research centre in Orangi, a section of Karachi and also taught students of Architecture College. Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad took a notice of the killing and termed it an inhuman act. Dr Ebad also directed the law enforcement agencies to acquire and examine the footages of CCTV cameras installed at all entry and exit points close to the crime scene.

The governor also directed IG Sindh Ghulam Shabbir Shaikh to submit the report of the incident. Meanwhile, MQM chief Altaf Hussain condemned the murder and said tercrorists were targeting important personalities in order to achieve their nefarious designs. He said Rehman was a highly capable woman and her public services could never be forgotten. He demanded of President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad and Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah to take immediate notice of the brutal killing of Ms Rehman.

He said that the terrorists responsible for her killing should be brought to justice. Colleagues of the deceased say she will be remembered as a committed social worker as well as a brilliant teacher. staff report