Targeted killing: OPP director gunned down in Karachi

Published: March 14, 2013
While it remains unclear if Rehman or the OPP had received threats, some of her work might have supposedly irked some influential persons. PHOTO: NPR

While it remains unclear if Rehman or the OPP had received threats, some of her work might have supposedly irked some influential persons. PHOTO: NPR


Parveen Rehman, a long-time director of the renowned Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), was gunned down in the Pakthunabad neighbourhood of Karachi on Wednesday.

Rehman was being driven back home when she was killed by armed men at the Qasba Mor point, according to the police.

“This seems to be a targeted attack. The killers had come on a motorcycle,” said DIG West Javed Odho, adding that she was struck by two bullets, while her car received another three. He added that investigations were underway.

Bakht Nawab, a taxi driver, who witnessed the incident, told The Express Tribune that two men on a red motorcycle opened fire on Rehman’s car near the Pashtun market on Manghopir road. Nawab added that the driver then drove the car towards Banaras Bridge.

The murder has shocked Rehman’s colleagues who said she did not have any personal enmity and worked mostly on projects for the uplift of the poor areas.

While it remains unclear if Rehman or the OPP had received threats, some of her work might have supposedly irked some influential persons.

Besides working on the illegal occupation of land in and around Orangi, Qasba and Gadap, Rehman had also mapped out illegal water hydrants around the city.

According to one colleague, her work was related to the mapping of 2,173 villages, as well as the marking of around 8,000 illegal hydrants.

“She did research on land encroachment. She knew about politically-backed influential people who were selling the same plots to a number of individuals and making million out of such dirty deals,” a colleague remarked.

The police said Rehman normally used the road via the Qaddafi Chowk to go home but on Wednesday, she took the Banaras bridge route.

A colleague recalled, “Around 7:10pm when I called her she warned me against taking the Banaras Bridge route due to deteriorating law and order as I was with a few foreigners.” He added he did not understand why she took the same route herself.

Rehman never married and remained committed to her work. She lived with her mother in Gulstan-e-Johar.

“I can’t believe this has happened,” cried a colleague who had worked with Rehman for 26 years. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article had incorrectly spelled Orangi. The error is regretted.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Muhammad
    Mar 14, 2013 - 4:17AM

    It is sad that people who do real work are targeted and killed for the good they are doing.


  • gtm2012
    Mar 14, 2013 - 4:18AM

    No public outrage, no mullahs screaming, no Fazlur Rehman on the scene, no TV anchors frothing at the mouth, no indignation from Hamid Gul or A.Q. Khan (the great torchbearers of Islamic piety), and yet this is a woman who has spent years trying to help others without seeking her own advantage, quite unlike Hafiz Saeed. Shows where the public morality lies!


  • f
    Mar 14, 2013 - 5:16AM

    She was a great humanitarian.She died fighting against evils of society and fought for uplifting living standard of people.
    She was head of one of Asia’s biggest slum rehabilitation projects.A most dedicated community worker who advanced Akhtar Hameed Khan’s vision of local development in Karachi.
    Great loss for country..
    Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un
    Surely we belong to God and to Him shall we return..


  • aka
    Mar 14, 2013 - 5:22AM

    shame on are police/rangers/isi AND LEADERS OF PAKISTAN.

  • TrollWatch
    Mar 14, 2013 - 5:40AM

    May she rest in eternal peace.


  • Mar 14, 2013 - 8:42AM

    A horrible loss.

    See little hope for the nation to progress when the very few talented and good characters left are so easily disposed off and outnumbered by the so many useless and evil characters around.


  • Arch.Ehtesham
    Mar 14, 2013 - 9:03AM

    She was a very nice and polite and heart fill with empathy for poor. Shame on the ppl of pakistan.


  • PizzyLFC
    Mar 14, 2013 - 9:14AM

    Read about her in the book ‘Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi’. She was a do gooder. This is a tradegy of mammoth propotions to the slum dwellers of Karachi. RIP.


  • kHaN
    Mar 14, 2013 - 9:15AM

    Never heard of her before however, what she’d been doing was a great-man’s work! May she rest in peace. This is so inhumane of us that we don’t value the people who are honest with the country and above all, the society, not anymore.

    You are 100% right.


  • M.A.Ahad
    Mar 14, 2013 - 10:17AM

    I dont think you should provide the name of the taxi drivers etc who are the witnesses to such incidents. They should be kept annonymous as it may work against them.


  • Kenneth
    Mar 14, 2013 - 10:52AM

    You are 100% right , in Pakistan a honest person is not appreciated at all for his work . May Almighty give peace to her family at this difficult time.RIP


  • Darjat
    Mar 14, 2013 - 10:58AM

    A very very shocking news. She was one of the exceptional persons- dedecated to the work Khan sahib has initiated, working honestly for the disadvantaged people of the country and elsewhere. OPP has demonstated true replication models in delivery of essential social development program and Perveen was one of the core expert. Prayers for sou to rest in eternal peace.


  • Burjor
    Mar 14, 2013 - 11:00AM

    We in Pakistan have very few people like her. She worked hard, selflessly for the poor, for a very good cause, ultimately she gave her life. We Pakistani’s are a most shameful nation. Very few people if any at all will give Karachi what she has given, it will be most difficult to document her contributions to the cause of the poor, to the Orangi project where she worked for so many years.
    Late Parveen had the right values in life, and lived up to her values which she held dear, simplicity, hard honest work, caring for the poor, fighting their cause, fighting the land mafia. She gave so much back to society, she was a real person, without pretensions, without airs. Very few know that there are angels on earth.


  • M. Ahmed
    Mar 14, 2013 - 1:08PM

    “Besides working on the illegal occupation of land in and around Organi, Qasba and Gadap, Rehman had also mapped out illegal water hydrants around the city.”

    Please correct the spelling of Orangi in the above para.


  • M. Ahmed
    Mar 14, 2013 - 1:19PM

    Sad. A woman has been target killed too. Another life has been undone. Another flame has been doused. Karachi bleeds. Evil abounds here. We will definitely suffer for our evil actions.


  • Shameema
    Mar 14, 2013 - 4:21PM

    In the aftermath of the war in East Pakistan in 1971 Parveen Rahman and her family were forced out of their home and incarcerated in an internment camp in the new Bangladesh. Her father and brothers were thrown into prison for no fault that they were Urdu-speaking and therefore a target for reprisals. With great diificulty, the family arrived in Pakistan and built a new life for themselves. She dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate in society. She gave everything for the poor of Pakistan. It is tragic that her life had to end this way. Shame on us!


  • Wazir
    Mar 14, 2013 - 9:02PM

    It is with great regret and despair to hear this news..I can honestly say i have never met her but I wish I had…There are many angels like her..The worst thing about all this is, our lives will move on and she will be forgotten about along with the rest of the fallen. I pray to Allah to ease the suffering of the fallen and give hidayah to those who commit these acts and continue to do so..


  • Imran Qureshi
    Mar 15, 2013 - 12:18PM

    Its really sad that someone that committed is killed and no one is coming on the streets to protest. Its very disheartening that a social worker is killed just because she was a barrier between the riches and the land mafia., Even worse is, people she directly impacted don’t have the courage to stand up to these crimes. Unless people stand up to such hideous crimes, the situation is going to deteriorate


  • Kamran
    May 3, 2013 - 9:26PM

    Very sad!! On a side note, why name the poor taxi driver? so that he can be killed too?


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