“Development doesn’t come from concrete.

Development is not five star hotels and mega road projects. What we need is human development.”

–Parween Rehman


Parween Rahman was born in Dhaka in 1957. She migrated to Pakistan after the separation of East Pakistan. She did her bachelors in architecture and became a director in Orangi Pilot Project, Karachi. She was a severe critic of land mafia and forced evictions in the name of developments in Karachi. Under Parveen, for example, a report was published by OPP about the forced evictions in 1500 villages of Sindh by the land mafia. Similarly, she worked for the regularization of Goths in Karachi, for the tenant rights of their inhabitants, in order to provide them legal grounds to negotiate and challenge the land mafias and developers. Parween received many threat calls for her work but did not budge. As a result, she was gunned down in 2013. The process of legalization of Goths she had so actively pursued stopped after her death marking yet another victory of evil in our country.

Parween Rehman offered a radically different idea of development, the one which challenged the usurpers, corrupts, tyrants, who operate under the guise of “development”. Parween has taught us to not look at the huge plazas, housing schemes, airports in awe and admiration and as a sign of progress as we have been taught to, but to also realize the human cost, the displacements and the multiple kinds of violence involved in the process.