ISLAMABAD - Setting aside Registrar office’s objections, the Supreme Court on Thursday admitted a petition pertaining to brutal murder of Perveen Rehman, a well-known social worker, for regular hearing.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Tassadaq Hussain Jilani was hearing a petition of Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and members of civil society groups. The petitioners have made the Sindh government, federal governments and the provincial police as respondents.

Six months before Perween Rehman, director of Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), was killed in Karachi, while police have not made serious efforts to investigate the murder. A chargesheet has yet to be submitted in the court.

The counsel for petitioner told the court that Perveen Rehman’s murderers being sheltered by a Karachi-based political party are still at large. The petition represents a humanitarian initiative to draw attention to justice denied to a person who dedicated three decades of her life to redress grievances of the poor in the face of land grabbers.

On the occasion of the hearing, Akhter Hameed Khan Resource Centre Director Fayyaz Baqir said, “Her killers, those who pulled the trigger and those who ordered it, remain at large. No one is there to guard those who dedicate their lives to public service.”

On March 13, while Rehman was going home, unidentified assailants fired at her on Main Manghopir Road, as a result of which she received bullet injuries in the neck. She was rushed to hospital where she died.  Rehman compiled land records of villages on the fringes of Karachi, which were vanishing into the city’s vastness because of ever-increasing demand from thousands of families migrating from across the country. According to Rehman, around 1,500 villages were forcibly merged into the city by land grabbers over the past 15 years.

 The land was subdivided into plots, which were sold for billions of rupees. She had also documented land in Orangi Town to protect the slum from the city’s notorious land grabbers.

According to her colleagues, she had been receiving death threats from land grabbers. In one of her interviews conducted in 2011, she had stated in detail the nature of land grabbing activities in Karachi and the threats received by her and her colleagues.