Parveen Rehman

parveen-rehman(1957-2013)

Breaking barriers for women from below

Parveen Rehman, director of the Orangi Pilot Project-Research and Training Institute, was a an activist who worked with the poor, especially women, to empower them by creating self-reliance and self-esteem in them.

She was a qualified architect, a graduate of the Dawood College of Engineering and Technology and also had a postgraduate diploma in housing, building and urban planning from the Institute of Housing Studies in Rotterdam. After beginning her professional life with a private firm of architects she gave up her job to join the Orangi Pilot Project where she learnt her lessons in development from the legendary Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan the founder of the OPP.

Parveen has become a legend herself. She carried forward Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan’s work and as she expanded its reach she gave it a new direction by focusing on women. And showing them the way to break barriers from below by doing it herself.

Her forte was her unlimited capacity to document all her work, especially the research that she conducted on sanitation, water supply and land.

Parveen Reham was shot dead on 13 March 2013 soon after she had left her office in Orangi after finishing a hectic day’s work. The outcry her tragic death provoked showed how great and expansive was her reach and network and how she was loved not just by the communities she worked with but also other people who came in contact with her.

This page has been set up in loving memory of Parveen and her inspiring work.


Posts:
Rest in peace little sister, Parveen Rehman
My Last Meeting with Slain Parveen Rehman
Protest At Press Club Against Brutal Murder Of Parveen Rehman
Female Workers Break Stereotypes in Karachi
Parveen Rehman: The legend lives on
Karachi mafia seek political clout with land grabs
Parveen Rehman’s death has left me heartbroken
Parween Rehman: Lane by Lane
The Death of a Nobody
Revolutionary resolve
For Perween Rehman
It would be safer if she was not the only one
Parveen Rehman Keep the Torch Alight

WAF’s Tribute to Perween Rahman
My Friend Perveen by Fozia Qureshi
A Gentle Heart Has Been Stopped
How Perween Rehman Crossed Over

 

(بنام پروین رحمان (انور راشد نظم
پروین کے لیئے – پاکستان کے لیئے
قبضہ مافیا کے خلاف ایک مضبوط آواز کی خاموشی


Condolence Messages and Tributes

The person working under her was crying while he was talking.  What a pity and shame on us to allow this to keep happening. It has become a free for all and a blind eye is turned to everything.  When are we going to wake up?  Instead of only criticizing when are our people going to do something?. For as the Quran also says “no nation will be helped till they help themselves”.  But who follows Islam here.  As Allama Iqbal said “When I go to the West I see Islam and no Muslims  and when I come back I see Muslims and no Islam”

If we had more Parveen Rehmans and Malalas and edhis  and Sharmin Chinoys may be we could have saved our selves.
SHAHNAZ BABAR


Thank you for this beautiful and heart wrenching tribute to an equally beautiful,  humane and courageous person. What a loss for all of us. There was a very warm and at the same time sad evening dedicated to Parveen in Islamabad today.
KHAWAR  MUMTAZ


She will be missed by all of us.
MAHNAZ RAHMAN


In a world and in a region that has known senseless violence for so long, we may seem to be inured to terror — until it strikes those we know. Terror has just taken away Parveen Rehman, one of the bravest and most dedicated of watsan activists whose life and work has been an inspiration for so many for so long. Around the world, the Orangi Pilot Project (established by Parveen’s pioneering mentor Akhtar Hameed Khan) has become a symbol of what people-centredness, that guiding WSSCC principle, can mean in action: the poor and the marginalized empowered to resolve local problems in their own way, on their own terms. Not just ordinary problems but the life-and-death watsan issues of survival in Orangi, perhaps the largest urban slum in Asia.

When I first went to work in Pakistan in the early 90s, I telephoned ‘Khan Saheb’ on arrival in Karachi. The saintly man had just been released from jail, unbelievably accused of blasphemy. “Don’t waste your time worrying about me and these fanatics. Go to Orangi, and go now! The team is waiting for you and they will look after you”. Parveen did exactly that, educating me on urban watsan and its human dimensions in a way I have never forgotten.

What was even more unforgettable was the glow of mutual care and concern that surrounded the OPP team and those Orangi citizens Parveen never once described as ‘beneficiaries’ — she saw herself as the one blessed with the opportunity to serve and to demonstrate what empowerment can really mean when it translates into the dignity of self-reliance.   I cannot imagine the pain that her brutal end is causing today in thousands of homes in Pakistan that were touched by her care and concern. All one can do is treasure her example, her legacy of service, her practical idealism, her selflessness, as well as Parveen’s profound conviction that, as Vision 21 once recorded: “Governments don’t solve problems. People do.”
ASHOKE CHATTERJEE


WSSCC expresses its condolences to the family of Ms. Parveen Rehman, a well known social worker in Pakistan who served as Director of the Orangi Pilot Project. Ms. Rehman was murdered on Wednesday 13 March outside of her office in Orangi Town, which is in the northwestern part of Karachi.

Ms. Rehman was an inspirational woman who for many years has been at the centre of driving the incredible work of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) in Karachi and across Pakistan.  OPP’s approach to addressing sanitation was well ahead of its time. It focused on promoting real community ownership and participation, rejecting subsidies, building strong local capacity, and working in the most challenging urban slum environments (http://www.oppinstitutions.org/).

While dedicated to sanitation, Ms. Rehman’s work stretch well beyond, as she campaigned for wider social justice.  Mr. Oliver Jones, a Global Sanitation Fund Programme Officer at WSSCC, worked together with Ms. Rehman during his time as a WASH officer for WaterAid in South Asia.

“I had the opportunity to learn so much from her when she showed me firsthand the great work of OPP in Karachi,” Mr. Jones said. “We also explored opportunities for the expansion of the OPP model and travelled together in Nepal and Bangladesh, where her astute and grounded observations, as well as practical solutions, made her stand out amongst sector professionals.”

He added: “I will remember her as an inspirational but humble woman who was dedicated to improving the lives of the poorest people within Pakistan.” Other colleagues of Ms. Rehman no doubt remember her as a committed social worker and brilliant teacher.

Ms. Rehman, who was 56, is survived by her mother, two brothers and a sister.
DAVID J. TROUBA
Senior Communications and Outreach Officer
Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
Geneva, Switzerland


KARACHI, March 14, 2013: Leading civil society organizations of Pakistan have expressed shock and profound grief at the brutal target killing of Director of the Organi Pilot Project (OPP) Ms. Parveen Rehman by terrorists near her office on Wednesday evening.

In a joint statement here on Thursday, the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, the South Asia Partnership – Pakistan, Strengthening Participatory Organisation, Sungi Development Foundation, the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, and Pakistan Peace Coalition, condemned the target killing of the social activist who dedicated her entire life to the cause of the empowerment of the marginalized communities in the slum areas of Pakistan, particularly the Orangi Town which is one of the largest slums of Asia. After the demise of the OPP’s founder head Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan in 1999, Ms. Rehman steered the mission of the organization, expanding one of the world’s largest and pioneer low cost sanitation and basic services programmes that went on to change the lives of the downtrodden rural population.

Paying tribute to Ms. Rehman, the statement observed that she was a relentless social activist who was highly respected for her innovative work for the slum communities which went beyond merely facilitating low cost services. She sought to empower the unattended-by-the state community through education, skills-development and provision for microfinance facilities. It was this work of hers that was targeted by the powerful mafias as a threat to their existence. While police have yet to identify her murderers, her brutal killing in the middle of a crowded road in Karachi is an indication of the backing of powerful forces behind her murder. It has been reported in the press that she had been receiving threats from local mafias for a long time. Her murder is a symbol of state’s failure to protect its citizens.

The civil society organisations strongly demanded the government to order a judicial inquiry into the killing of Ms. Rehman to ascertain the killers and their actual masters. The state must stand up to protect sane voices and peaceful forces of the country that remain target of the brutality of the non-state actors and the apathy of the state. Parveen Rehman’s killing is a serious move to demoralize the forces of peace and development in the country. The organizations expressed the resolve that they will not bow under pressure, but the state must take its responsibility to protect its citizens.

The civil society also expressed solidarity with the OPP team headed by late Parveen Rehman. They resolved to work together to carry forward her mission to empower the marginalized stressing that no terrorists and mafias should have the power to stop peace and development in the society.

SHUJAUDDIN QURESHI
Co-Manager Programmes (Advocacy and Networking)
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)


May her sould rest in peace. Such a sense of helplessness and powerlessness, as our friends, acquaintences and people all around us are murdered by faceless savages who are never identified or brought to justice. I feel more and more shattered every day.
 SIMI KAMAL


Uff! This is such a tragic news that one feels so helpless. Then to be away and not be able to share the sorrow with all those who loved and cared for Parveen.

In shock and grief
 UZMA NOORANI


I can’t understand who would pick on a woman who was never politically involved and did nothing but good for the poor and marginalised — except that that might be the very reason. It seems to me our good Samaritans are being targeted now to make chaos complete in Pakistan. Just praying that she may be still alive ….
NAJMA SADEQUE


I’m so shattered, and feel so without hope….I met her exactly a month ago , and now this…
HILDA SAEED


i got sms . i can’t believe.whole night i can’t sleep because i m in field. i feel insecure. I keep thinking of her when i met her for the last time.
MALKA KHAN


I dedicate Dervehs’s poem to u & alikes (so rare though)

The Earth is Closing on us

The earth is closing on us, pushing us through the last passage, and

We tear our limbs to pass through.

The earth is squeezing us. I wish we were its wheat so we could die

And live again. I wish the earth was our mother

So she’d be kind to us. I wish we were pictures on the rocks for our dreams to carry as mirrors.

We cried over their children’s feast. We saw the faces of those who’ll

Throw our children out of the window of the last space. Our star will hang up in mirrors.

Where should we go after the last frontiers? Where should the birds fly after the last sky?

Where should the plants sleep after the last breath of air?

We will write our names with scarlet steam.

We will cut off the head of the song to be finished by our flesh.

We will die here, here in the last passage,. Here and here our blood will plant its olive trees
DR.RAKHSHINDA PERVEEN
Founder/CEO
creativeanger by rakhshi


As some of you may have learnt already, Perween never stood a chance. She died on the spot. It was obviously very well planned. The killers had been doing a rekki for days perhaps. They knew exactly where her vehicle took a turn as she left her office and the vehicle’s most vulnerable point of entry, and planted themselves accordingly. The driver was unscathed. No wild, random shooting. The bullets found just her.

Perween is survived by her widowed mother, a sweet, soft-spoken gentle lady who lived with her, and from whom Perween got her nature — one can only imagine what she must be going through; and her sister Aquila, author, who lives in America. I think she’ll be here soon. Those who want to write to the family can send their messages to OPP.

What our killers have come to can be gauged from the fact that yesterday there were ten more killings, and the police caught a group of children turned hiredshooters. Theywere being paid 3000/- for a job, and one of them confessed that poverty had driven him to this. Their ages ? 12, 14, 16 …….

Perween was very dear to me personally — as she was to many of us. A long tome ago, Deneb and I began to film her for a documentary on her life and work. Most of it is done except her reflections about her life, society, community ….. But then, her work was her life. And like her life, the film is going to be rather incomplete.
NAJMA SADEQUE


Just spoke to her colleague and he said that the tragic news was true. It is shocking. She always brought sunshine in people’s lives. Received an sms from her just this morning. never knew that would be our last communication. Terrible terrible news. What will we do without her it’s so tragic. Such a marvellous woman
 ZUBEIDA MUSTAFA

I just saw the news. She unfortunately is no more… most upset, angry ,,, what a beautiful woman who dedicated her life to Pakistan. Remember meeting her first long ago when she first joined opp  and then many times in connection with transfer of technology etc in other parts of the country… who does one condole with ? we only knew each professionally… love ferida
FERIDA SHER


نجمہ صاحبہ

سخت افسوس ہوا ہے۔ جو لوگ یہ حرکتیں کر رہے ہیں، ان کا ایجنڈا اب یہ لگتا ہے کہ ہر معقول، تعلیم یافتہ اور سوچنے والے ، اور کسی بھی انداز سے کوئی بھی مثبت کا کر نے والے شخص کو خاموش کر دیا جائے،
خواہ وہ مخالف بھی نہ ہو۔
صرف جاہل رہ جائیں گے تو، شاید ان کے خیال میں، ان کا کام اور آسان ہوجائے گا۔
سلامی
Salami A Salami


This is terrible news And you’re right – helping the poor and marginalized hurts vested interests all the way from the community to the top brass of the military.
SAADIA TOOR 


This is soooooooo disgusting. Guys all of you take care. There is no method to madness in this country. And my heart felt condolences to all samaritans on the sad demise of Parveen Rahman, the comrade.
 JENNY BENNETT


Parveen is dead.very sad. Don’t know what to say what to do!
ZOHRA YUSUF


Parveen is dead.very sad. Don’t know what to say what to do!
In distress,
ANIS HAROON


Shattered
Dr.R.Perveen


Sadness
GHAZALA RAHMAN


So tell me what is sadness?
JUSTICE NASIRA IQBAL


We all need to WAKE UP before it is our turn ! Nazim
NAZIM HAJI


I am next Horrible, horrible news…the mafi’s have won..Hail Riaz Malij the Chief. He makes B=Veena Malik look like a Saint !
Shaheen Attiq


This is terrible. The demons are killing angels.Our leaders like modern day Neros are playing the flute as Pakistan burns.
AKMAL HUSSAIN


Perveen Rahman , one of the finest, bravest, most inspiring and committed persons I knew of. She devoted her entire life working selflessly for the poor and downtrodden. RIP Perween. Our only homage could be a resolve to push for complete deweaponisation of our society.
NAEEM SADIQ


yes, this is absolutely terrible news…Inna Lillahi wa Inna Illaihi Rajaoon…..what enemies of humanity & Pakistan are doing this,I wonder….with horror…
SHIFA NAEEM


I just heard this on the news,  Devastating news. For, God’s sake, when will all this stop? In sorrow
 NASREEN AZHAR


Shocking news indeed!
CARMEN MIRANDA


She is gone Najma- what is happening? I am losing my mind!
 SHEEMA


Tehrik-e-Niswan

This is terrible news. Lost for words.

In grief and shock
UZMA NOORANI


Oh no, I am shocked. Not Perveen Rahman.
MOHD TAHSEEN


This is shocking news What is to be achieved with all of this…..complete insanity!
MARIA RASHID


OH NO!  I cannot believe this .. I just met her at KLF and what an asset she was for Pakistan. Bloodbath Pakistan is what this phase is going to be about until the elections!  What price democracy!
BAELA RAZA JAMIL


In Pakistan, the people who are trying to spred chaos in this country so that they can bring back the organisations of their choice to rule us, are behind spreading this terror.  Saman
SAMAN YAZDANI KHAN


How on earth is this possible ??? Claus
KLAUS EULER


As if we hadn’t had enough tragedies already… Asim
ASIM GHANI


So sad.   Nothing is sacred anymore……
Seema Wali Khan


It’s so tragic ,am very sad , wonder where we are heading to.
AYESHA ALAM


Tragic news  indeed – I did not know her at all, but OPP has been doing good work for so many decades – there really doesn’t seem to be any logic to the shooting.
FARIDA SHAHEED


How very shocking
Syed Hilal Uddin


thanks for this.  her violent death is a terrible indictment for pk and a great loss. i only saw her once in khi at some occasion where she spoke briefly and very impressively. just got to listen to her again yesterday:  http://www.npr.org/2008/06/05/91181163/female-workers-break-stereotypes-in-karachi
ISA DAUDPOTA


I am enormously saddened by this tragic loss, the brutal way in which she was murdered, the great suffering her family must be enduring now and lastly the great loss that the whole of civil society across the length and breath of Pakistan has suffered by her loss. It is clear that these extremists will not tolerate anyone particularly from the NGO community and yet we are saddled with a lack of clarity or will on what to do about it.ahmed Rashid
AHMED RASHID


I did not have the privilege of meeting Perween Rahman but the news of her dastardly murder has put me in a state of depression and deep anguish. Her work at OPP testifies that she belonged to the very best amongst us; a woman who dedicated her life so that the poor of Karachi may live better. Was this why those animals killed her? Wanton murder is now utterly routine, and yet this killing has deeply shocked so many of us. One wonders who will be the next recipient of bullets.
PERVEZ HOODBHOY


Speechless and stunned. I first met Parveen when she had just joined the OPP and was a slim attractive girl with a million dollar smile. Met her over the years when ever I went to see Khan sahib. She was growing by leaps and bounds; starting with her kitchen gardens, to the first sewerage pipes, supervising everything herself!  I last met her when I went to condole for Khan sahib. She was the natural person to take over because she had been groomed for this work. She was her work…..I can’t stop crying because she was perhaps the mostly “saintly” person one can think of. I am also not surprised that “they” have finally got her. She was the big obstacle in the path of every illegal enterprise in the city! Gosh, what can one say? Where will all this lead? Her poor mother…. In solidarity
NUSCIE JAMIL


Extremely sorry to hear of the murder of your friend, a great social worker and head of the Orangi Pilot Project. May God give her family and her friends the strength to bear this irreparable and may her soul rest in eternal peace. May the barbarians who shot her get caught and be given exemplary punishment by the state. I hope you can complete the documentary you were making on her, so that others can be inspired by the incredible work she did for the community and the poor.
SOHAIL OSMAN ALI


She is all of us. I will miss her sweet smiling face, her gentle musical voice, her brilliant mind, her soft strength .. hope her killers have horrible nightmares the rest of their miserable lives and never sleep or live in peace.
DURRIYA KAZI


For whatever good it does sharing grief at this completely senseless waste of a very precious life is necessary to fight these elements.

But was it senseless ? Last night I went onto the web and read an interview she gave in 2010 re: the land mafia, and more recently about threats from MQM and ANP…… in sympathy,
FERIDA SHER


We’ve all been deeply saddened by the news of Perween’s shooting in Karachi yesterday, and though I never knew her, I’ve heard a lot about her work which as you may know has been featured in a forthcoming book on Women Water Professionals in South Asia (Zubaan and SaciWaters, New Delhi, 2013).

Please let me know if there is anything we can do to support any commemoration of Perween’s life and work at whatever level you decide. I know it may be early to think of this, but I wanted you to know that many of us in the water community here are thinking about her and larger questions of safety and security for all of you. At some point you could let us know why she as a development professional, was targeted.

SARA AHMED, PHD,
Senior Program Specialist
Agriculture and Environment, International Development Research Centre
Asia Regional Office


We all are in grief and today are giving a news statement. Will be meeting Governor KP today (15th Marach) and will raise this issue as well with him. You can imagine how difficult it is becoming for people like us to survive.
Maryam Bibi


this is truly terrible news.  Where is this country going to? I am amazed that the army is not taking over the country, they always did when there was trouble.  I am also amazed what hardships the people are enduring and that they still have not started rioting like in the neighboring Arab countries.
Birgit Mewes


Am so sorry for your loss. On one level it seems completely incomprehensible why anyone would target someone like Perween who devoted her life to improving the lives of the underprivileged and marginalised. Yet on another level, it makes complete sense. Doing such work means you have to tread on some pretty influential toes. And in misogynistic Pakistan, being a woman doing such work is twice as perilous.
NAZIHA SYED ALI


I find myself totally shattered and devastated by Parveen’s senseless assassination – and also totally bereft of words, for once. Coming so soon on the heels of the need for us to respond to the Badami Bagh outrage, which came so soon after Abbas Town, Hazara Town & Alamdar Road, I found myself today unable to even attend a condolence meeting for Parveen this afternoon.

She remained a beloved friend, even though we met infrequently.  I met her in 1987, on my first visit to OPP, when I had the privilege and honour of being briefed and escorted by none other than our great icon, Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan.  Parveen was young, talented, enthusiastic, idealistic, committed and totally dedicated to the OPP philosophy even back then, working tirelessly in her own soft and gentle, humble and modest, yet quietly firm and assertive manner, which she never lost in the past 3 decades.  I never stopped admiring and respecting her – and never will.  I have never met anyone like her – and she is irreplaceable.  May she rest in eternal peace.

May moderate, progressive, roshan-khayaal Pakistanis be granted the strength and courage to RISE & SPEAK OUT WITH ONE LOUD VOICE against this galloping insanity – before it’s too late…. Tahira
TAHIRA ABDULLAH


I respect mehmud dervesh and his creative anger, still I wonder if ever our people’s blood will plant olive trees1 1848,1947,1971
HUSSAIN NAQI


Shocked, outraged, grieved. There has to be something we can do about this insane violence. Neelam
NEELAM HUSSAIN


Unbelievable. Another obituary in a world (nay people) gone mad at least in Karachi.
SHAGUFTA ALIZAI


I knew Perveen well in her earlier years in opp but other than bumping into each other over the years we sort of lost touch. I always admired and respected her…feel devastated, helpless and angry
NIGHAT KHAN


I am very sad reading about Parween’s death. My heart goes to her mother and sister, and her friends like you who have lost not just a dear person but a close colleague. In a place like Pakistan people like Parween are the unsung giants holding up roof over our heads. I hope Deneb and you finish the documentary, and can also get in interviews with all her colleagues, family, friends that will enrich the project. In sorrow – Nadira
NADIRA SHERALAM


This is really sad & shocking. Thank you for sharing.
AQSA KHAN


Absolutely no words to express the shock and sadness at the horrible horrible manner this gentle, committed was taken away.
AFIA SALAM

She was like an angel; very sweet and very brave!
SHAHID HUSAIN


Who is next ? Shame on all of us who are the living dead ! Nazim
NAZIM HAJI


‘Inna Lil La Hey wah Inna Alaihay Rajaoon’

So sad…Pakistan is heading in a wrong direction!  Allah help us and save us.  May Allah Bless Perween’s soul and may she rest in peace, Ameen. .
SURAIYA SYED-TOHAMY


When sorrows come They come in battalions
DR PERVEZ TAHIR


In distress. Perveen was dedicated, brave, and great prefessional. She devoted her life for the empowerment of the marginalised. Offer condolences to her mother and her brother and sister. Also offer condolences to all her friends, co-workers and admirers.
IQBAL ALAVI


On behalf of friends and members of Irtiqa Inst. of Social Sciences.

Oh its so shocking … no words… do we await the same or adopt the humiliation, pain and silence? Fareeha
FAREEHA UMMAR


I did not know Parveen personally but am still shocked and saddened by this senseless and brutal act, which ended the life of an innocent person and one who had dedicated her life to the service of humanity. What a tragedy and a loss for her family, friends, OPP and Pakistan. Naheed Aziz
NAHEED AZIZ


It is indeed very sad. Unfortunately, no solution is in sight.  ANY SUGGESTIONS?
HAMEED MAKER,


Helpline Trust

I had seen a documentary on her I think on Dawn News last year. No words to express my sorrow for how such crimes against such wonderful  people serving oppressed communities. Can the CJ look state look into the amount of security the state wastes from our tax money on themselves especially the president who has taken over public property to build a wall around his residence in Karachi.

The killers must be caught and convicted. The CJ must take moto notice of this killing and we demand justice. Where can we send condolences to her mother
NAZEEHA HUSSAIN 


Can’t get over the shock. Parveen was such a committed person who dedicated her own life to improving others’.  Sajeda
SAJEDA ZAIDI


So sad I never had the privilege of meeting this fine woman.

I did meet Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan back in 1990, and I wonder if she was one of the women I saw during my visits to him.

Deweaponization is a who-will-bell-the-cat kind of solution, but that is the ultimate and only way of dealing with a situation which is more terror than mere lawlessness. I see little possibility of that happening in the foreseeable future, but maybe I’m being too pessimistic here.
ASIM GHANI


I am very sorry to hear about this tragic loss to all of Pakistan.  When the good are gunned-down, our collective light diminishes. Sharmini
SHARMINI FERNANDO


Her courage knew no bounds. Where will we find another Parveen? For the last few years she had been talking about the land grabbers and it must be the land mafia that got her. My last meeting with her was at the KLF. She was her usual happy, smiling self and so pleased to receive a copy of my book on Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan, launched a day before. I missed her at the launch, and told her that i had said so to the audience as well. Aquila and Anwer Rashid were also with her. She laughed upon seeing herself illustrated in the book (it’s a graphic story aimed at older children).
RUMANA HUSAIN


Yesterday (13th March), Karachiites, especially the low-income and marginalised routinely ignored and neglected by government and politicians, lost their activist-patron of a very different kind. She did not merely show people an alternative, more effective way of improving their lives. She made them participate with their own hands, actions and initiative until they were fully self-reliant.

Perween fell victim to various mafia whose prey came from among Karachi’s masses and whose homes and livelihoods were made subject to high-level racketeering. Yet throughout, Perween walked the fine line between the corrupt and criminal elements within and outside taking care not to risk the interests of the people. But because it thwarted vested interests, she inevitably took the risks onto herself, and has paid for it dearly.

It is not just Karachi that has lost a saviour, but all of Pakistan and wherever her methods have been applied, and in the flood-stricken areas where she also began to work for forgotten humanity. The painful loss of Perween is also a dire warning: if we as a people do not get together to counter the predators who are threatening us a society and a country, we are letting down ourselves as well as Perween.
STATEMENT FROM SHIRKAT GAH


Civil society organizations, human rights activists, concerned citizens and members of the Insani Huqooq Itehad (IHI), End Violence against Women and Girls (EVAW/G) alliance and Women Action Forum (WAF) in a meeting held on 14th of March at Aurat Foundation slammed the murder of dedicated social activist Ms. Parveen Rehman in Karachi as a senseless and barbaric act.

Participants present in the meeting expressed their deep sorrow and shock at the murder of the brilliant and peace loving development worker who had dedicated her life to working selflessly for the poor and downtrodden. Her pro-poor approach was unique and changed the lives of hundreds of people where she worked.

Parveen Rehman was the Director of the Orangi Pilot Project, one of Asia’s largest slum projects that has been focusing on low cost sanitation, housing, health and family planning, education and micro finance for the poor. The NGO was set up by the well known social activist Akhtar Hameed Khan in 1980 and Parveen Rehman had been associated with this NGO for over two decades.

Drawing attention to the fact that Parveen’s death comes on a day when 7 other citizens of Pakistan have fallen prey to target killings in Karachi, a city where violence has become routine, members questioned the State’s inability to check rampant lawlessness and target killings of its citizens.

Expressing outrage, participants stated that Ms. Rehman’s death is a direct result of the growing environment of impunity that surrounds such incidents, where even personal scores and enmities are settled by resorting to cold-blooded murder and go unchallenged. Members stressed the importance of understanding the political economy behind these ‘seemingly’ random incidents of violence. Ms. Rehman’s work and passion for documenting and compiling records of land grabbing that has been rampant in the area was well known. She had claimed and shown through her painstaking research work that 1500 “goths” (villages) on the fringes of city had been merged into Karachi in the last 15 years and subdivided into plots at the cost of the poor inhabitants who were living on these lands for many decades.

They demanded that the Government of Sindh, local administration and police must take immediate notice of this tragic and outrageous incident and the strongest possible action must be taken against the criminals. Members stressed that the real culprits behind this heinous crime must be caught and the investigation should go beyond the hired contract killers often used for these shameful acts. They demanded a thorough investigation of the death threats that Ms. Rehman had been receiving from the land mafia in the area, and stressed that those who had deprived the nation of a dedicated friend of the poor and an exemplary citizen of the country must not be allowed to escape punishment. The participants also demanded the political forces, civil-military bureaucracy, sitting government to ensure security and protection of human rights workers and activists.

PRESS STATEMENT
from civil society, Islamabad

Maria Rashid, ROZAN


Perween Rehman, Director of the Orangi slum project in Karachi has been killed in a drive-by shooting in Karachi. Perween, an architect by training (whose family came from the former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh), believed that ‘people are their own best resource’. She saw herself as a teacher who was always learning. And she was ever-optimistic, saying she could not be depressed for more than 10 minutes at a time! Perween was one of the women featured in the e-book ‘Women Manage Water: Inspiring Stories from South Asia’ brought out by SaciWaters, and also features in a version of the book, now titled ‘Women Water Professionals’ (under print), being published by Zubaan.

SaciWATERs family conveys deep condolences to her family and friends
SACIWATERS


Parveen Rehman
Keep the Torch Alight

3 thoughts on “Parveen Rehman”

  1. We recall Parveen having a tender heart from the beginning. In 1985 she stood out grieving more than our family, at the funeral of my brother, her classmate.

    Asif was the star of the family. Always at top of his class, from K to university, gold medalist, award winning architect, musician, painter, horse-rider, social activist. The family got used to him coming home in the late hours of night volunteering at Hindu Kachchi Abadi improvement projects.

    For 2 years President of Engineering Student Union he was so badly beaten up by government thugs that we had to send him far away to his cousins in India for a while to cool things down for his own safety. A few years later he tragically passed away, most likely of internal injuries he had received to his head.

    Govt. thugs got my brother. The present thugs, apparently the land mafia, are most likely the children of the same who got Parveen. They do not want progress for the poor. Is the strategy of these rascals to eliminate all other social work from the country so that the destitute only turn to Madressahs for help and to their anti-human Islam that is closing the doors of the world to Pakistanis.

    I bet Asif and Parveen are together having a great time as they did as close classmates.

  2. No doubt Karachi was suffered in bloodshed since long time, we observed 15-20 deats daily, but we could not imagine that one day we got this tergic incident. i really very shocked, a person whose always contributed, innocent , no any personal conflict, a very skilled and also committed worker. i remember all those days since inital days of my career when i came OPP and learn lot from you. we all miss you always.
    Mustafa Baloch
    SPO-Hyderabad.

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