22 November 2022
By Shaukat Korai
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has allowed the appeals of five criminals arrested in the murder case of former Orangi Pilot Project Director Parveen Rehman and quashed their convictions. The court ordered the release of all the accused, in the court order, the performance of the investigating authorities has been described as poor.
Parveen Rehman was killed on March 13, 2013 by two unknown motorcycle-riding men in the limits of Pirabad police station at Kasbah Colony Mor in Karachi when she was going home from her office. Parveen Rehman was working as the director of Orangi Pilot Project for more than twenty years.
5 accused were named in the Parveen Rehman murder case. After 8 years, the anti-terrorism court sentenced four accused Rahim Swati, Amjad Hussain, Ayaz Swati and Ahmed Khan to life imprisonment and a fine of two lakh rupees in December 2021, while one And Imran Swati, the accused and Rahim Swati’s son, was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined.
Aqeela Ismail, sister of Parveen Rahman and the plaintiff in this case, says that she is shocked about the decision but will go to the Supreme Court for justice.
“We got justice after nine years of struggle but it was done away with. I am trying to run the project now and I know how much danger is still there, how can this happen?” Did they release the criminals so they can attack us again and kill me.”
In the court decision, it has been said that the police relied only on the confession of the accused Rahim Swati, but there is a big discrepancy between the confession of the accused and the evidence, due to which all the accused have been given the benefit of doubt.
The bullet shells collected from the place of murder and weapons were not recovered from the accused but were similar to the weapons of another accused, Qari Bilal.
Sometime later, Qari Bilal Mangho Peer was killed in a police encounter, which led to forensic analysis of the bullet casings of the recovered weapon, which revealed that it was the same weapon used to kill Parveen Rehman.
The Human Rights Commission for Pakistan has also expressed serious concerns over the acquittal decision despite strong evidence against the accused. They urged the government that adequate protection should be provided to the family, colleagues and the legal team in the case.
A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was constituted twice on the orders of the Supreme Court to investigate the Parveen Rehman murder case, but the court said that the status of the JIT reports is no more than the challan of the case. The things mentioned in the JIT report had already come to light. While the court cannot decide the punishment or innocence of an accused on the basis of the JIT report alone. The court says that the benefit of the doubt is always given to the accused but in this case, not one but many doubts have been found.