Apex court orders security for Perween Rahman's family

Published: October 11, 2017
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Social Activist Perween Rehman. PHOTO: NPR

Social Activist Perween Rehman. PHOTO: NPR

ISLAMABAD: The family of the director of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), Perween Rahman, who was murdered in 2013, is receiving serious threats after the arrest of the prime accused, Rahim Sawati.

Aquila Ismail, Rehman’s sister, informed on Tuesday a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, that the family and their lawyer Salahuddin Panwar, who is appearing before the trial court, have been receiving threats from the prime accused.

The apex court directed the Sindh police to provide security to Rahman’s family, OPP’s employees and the complainant’s counsel. The bench also ordered the Sindh inspector-general of police to decide on the complainant’s application regarding the interrogation of two investigators, SIP Raja Ulfat Hussain and SIP Ashfaq Hussain, in the case. The complainant had alleged that both investigators had been involved in manipulating initial investigations in the Perween Rehman murder case.

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Rehman was gunned down by unidentified armed motorcyclists in a drive-by shooting near Banaras Flyover on March 13, 2013. A petition was filed by 12 petitioners, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research and members of civil society groups, which requested the SC to constitute a judicial commission to probe Rahman’s murder. Advocate Raheel Kamran Sheikh is appearing before the apex court on behalf of the petitioners.

The petition also pointed out that Rahman’s murder symbolised high handedness, negligence and failure of the law enforcement agencies in Karachi, which had not only failed to protect the life, liberty and property of its citizens, but also failed to investigate the murder of a renowned social worker. Later, the apex court accepted the petition and initiated proceedings in the matter. The SC also ordered a Karachi district and sessions judge to probe the matter.

On Tuesday, the Sindh police submitted a progress report regarding the investigations. The report says that Rahim disclosed before a joint investigation team (JIT) that he was an office bearer of the Awami National Party (ANP) and a councilor of UC-8. In 2011, Ayaz Sawati had come to him and asked help for setting up a karate centre for local youth and obtaining land for it from the OPP. Both of them went to Rahman for the purpose, but she replied in negative through a Pakistan Peoples Party councilor, Waheed.

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According to the report, the accused perceived Rahman’s behaviour as discriminatory against the Pakhtoon community. Rahim convened a meeting with Ayaz, Amjad Afridi and Ahmad Ali in which they decided to murder Rahman.

It is also revealed in the report that Ayaz called a local commander of Taliban who was incharge of Katti Pahari to help in Rahman’s murder. The commander agreed to assassinate Rahman against money.

The report states that Qari Bilal and Mehfoozullah killed the OPP director and nominates eights others for involvement in the case.

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Regarding the trial of case, the report states that out of 26 witnesses, 13 have not been examined. However, the principal accused person, Rahim, has been arrested along with other suspects and a special police team has been constituted to ensure the arrest of the absconding accused.

Adjourning the hearing for four weeks, the bench directed the police to ensure that the remaining accused are arrested.

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