Monday, March 25, 2013

Civil society seeks arrest of Rahman’s killers

Members of civil society organisations called for the immediate arrest of Parveen Rahman’s killers while demonstrating near the Quaid’s mausoleum on Sunday.

Ms Rahman, a renowned social worker, was killed on Wednesday in a targeted attack when she was returning from her office in Orangi.

The demonstration was jointly organised by the Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP), Institute of Architects Pakistan (IAP), and an environmental NGO Shehri. Participants in the demonstration demanded that the killers be caught, booked, tried and punished sternly, according to the law.

A few speakers also named a certain ethnic party and its local leaders, who they accused of extending death threats to Ms Rahman, and demanded that a thorough investigation be carried out into the murder.

The demonstrators said that many other social workers, whose work was affecting various mafias and power groups, were also receiving threats and demanded that protection be provided to them.

According to them, Ms Rahman had said that she had been working on land surrounding the city which was being encroached upon. They said Ms Rahman had probably come too close to the powerful mafia and land grabbers, who fearing exposure, had eventually silenced her. They said the social worker’s cold-blooded murder had shocked the entire civil society and demanded that the government take concrete steps to contain the prevailing sense of insecurity. However, the demonstrators vowed that they would continue their work despite threats for the empowerment of the poor and rule of law.

Paying tribute to the slain social worker, Prof Nauman Ahmed of the NED university said Ms Rahman’s organisation, the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), had been working at the grass-roots level to turn a major chunk of Orangi Town from a slum into an area with proper infrastructure.

Amber Alibhai of Shehri, an NGO, said that many other social workers, whose community improvement work was affecting various mafias and power groups, were also receiving threats and demanded protection for them.

Sikander Hayat of the PCATP, Mumtaz Jilani of the IAP and others also spoke on the occasion.

The demonstrators carried banners inscribed with their demands and also chanted slogans. A statement condemning Ms Rahman’s murder and demanding her killers’ arrest was also distributed among the participants.

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