ISLAMABAD, Nov 13 -With more than 5,000 signatures on a petition filed in the Supreme Court, Karachi activists hope the judges will take up the murder case of Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) director Parveen Rahman.
These signatures were submitted in the attorney general’s office on Tuesday nearly two months after a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Tassadaq Hussain Jilani, admitted a petition on Rahman’s murder case. Setting aside the objections raised by the registrar’s office, the Supreme Court admitted the plea filed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the citizens of Karachi. The petition, filed on Tuesday, urges the apex court to take up the case on an urgent basis.
OPP’s Rahman was killed in Karachi in March this year allegedly due to the enmities she made through her work – she worked extensively on the city’s drainage network and water hydrants. A charge sheet on her murder has, however, yet to be submitted in court. The petitioner’s counsel told the court that Rahman’s murderers were still at large and they were being sheltered allegedly by a political party.
The petition aims to draw attention to justice denied to a person who dedicated three decades of her life to redress grievances of the poor in the face of land grabbers, claimed one of the petitions. “Her killers, those who pulled the trigger and those who ordered it, remain at large,” said the director of Akhtar Hameed Khan Resource Centre, Fayyaz Baqir. “No one is there to guard those who dedicate their lives to public service.”
Apart from Baqir, human rights activist Zohra Yusuf and journalist Zubaida Mustafa have also submitted petitions. They have cited the provincial and the federal governments and the provincial police as respondents.
Rahman was compiling land records of settlements on the fringes of Karachi, which were vanishing into the city’s vastness because of the ever-increasing demand from thousands of families migrating to the metropolis.
According to her colleagues, she had been receiving death threats from land grabbers. In one of her interviews, conducted in 2011, she had stated in detail the nature of land grabbing activities in Karachi and the threats received by her and her colleagues.
Naseemur Rehman, one of her colleagues, told The Express Tribune that if they compromise on this murder of a community worker today, then nobody will dare stand up for the uplift of the poor strata of society. “We will not let this case die in the files,” he added.