Prime suspect of Perween Rahman murder netted

Rahim Swati was arrested during a raid in the Manghopir area, police said


Our Correspondent May 07, 2016
Parveen Rehman was murdered in Karachi on March 13, 2013. PHOTO: NPR

KARACHI: The Karachi police said on Saturday that they have finally apprehended the prime suspect in the assassination of Perween Rahman more than three years after the prominent social worker was shot dead.

“Today, I am going to share some good news with you all,” District West SSP Captain (retd) Azfar Mahesar told a news conference at his office. “Finally, we have arrested a key suspect in Perween Rahman’s murder case.”

Rahim Swati was arrested during a raid in the Manghopir area, police said. A 9mm pistol and a hand grenade were also found on him. His son Imran Swati was already in the custody of law enforcement agencies.

Swati has been booked under sections 353, 324 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Perween, then director of the Orangi Pilot Project, was killed by unidentified motorcyclists in a drive-by shooting near Banaras Flyover on March 13, 2013.

The very next day, the police boasted about killing the alleged mastermind of the assassination, a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan operative identified as Qari Bilal, in an encounter. The investigators later failed to establish the claim with evidence.

Another suspect, Bilal alias Tension, was also taken into custody but was released by the court last year for want of evidence.

In March 2015, the police again claimed that they had arrested one of the prime suspects in the murder, Ahmed Khan alias Pappu Kashmiri, from Mansehra in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

On April 15, the Supreme Court ordered the authorities to conduct a fresh probe into the murder.

After the top court intervened, a special police team was formed under the supervision of the SSP West. The SP Orangi was selected to lead the operation to nab Swati.

SSP Mahesar blamed the land and water mafias for the murder of Perween. “She was a vocal activist working against land and water mafias in the city, particularly Orangi Town, and this was the reason she was killed,” he explained.

The officer said Rahim murdered Perween with the help of his five accomplices. Two other accused are already in police custody.

Dozens of suspects involved in land grabbing, water tanker mafia and extortion were also arrested for investigation by a joint interrogation team (JIT). The JIT held about 15 meetings and unanimously concluded that Rahim, who is an active worker of a political party, was the key player of the murder.

Chance for justice

Perween’s family seemed happy over the police performance. “It is really encouraging,” said Perween’s sister Aquila Ismail while talking to The Express Tribune. “It is a breakthrough. Now the efforts of the police are being seen and there is a chance of justice.”

The victim’s lawyer said everything depended on the investigation now. “We welcome the efforts of the Karachi police as at least they did something in the case,” said Kamran Shaikh. “But let’s see how the police deal with the investigation.”

 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2016.

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