Rights activists are pushing for the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the murder of Orangi Pilot Project’s (OPP) former director Perveen Rehman in Karachi last year. Since the provincial police failed to properly investigate Rehman’s murder, they said, the case should be entrusted to a JIT consisting of senior police officers which should conduct a fair and impartial investigation so that the perpetrators may be identified and tried in a court of law.
Activists such as Dr Farzana Bari, Naseer Memon, Samina Nazir, Naseemur Rehman and Dr Hasan Nasir were briefing media on progress of the case at the National Press Club Islamabad. They also appealed to the provincial government to initiate stern disciplinary action against the police officers, identified in the report of the district and sessions judge, Karachi (West). The report was submitted before the Supreme Court last month. Perveen Rehma had extensive knowledge of the activities of the land and water mafias in Karachi and she had refused to abandon her social work in its slums despite threats to her life. She had become a symbol of resistance against the growing activities of the land and water mafias.
The participants appreciated the important role of the Supreme Court, which had not only admitted the petition for hearing but had also ordered the formation of a judicial commission consisting of the district and sessions judge, Karachi (West) in order to hold an inquiry in the case. The court also directed the DIG (West) Karachi to provide security to the OPP officials and to make arrangements to prevent such incidents in the future. The participants expressed their satisfaction with the proceedings of the case so far and hoped that the Supreme Court would continue to pass appropriate orders – for a fair and impartial investigation into Rehman’s murder and for the protection of the OPP members as well as other social workers, who face of grave threats and danger to their lives.
The participants were of the view that since the incident of murder of Rehman had the affect of spreading fear among social workers in Karachi, the case be registered under the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. Social workers, especially those working in Karachi, feel that her murder has resulted in expansion of the activities of land and water mafias across various slums and goths lying on the fringes of Karachi where impoverished households are facing threats of eviction. –tribune