Parveen Rehman, one of Pakistan’s top development workers and so-called “Mother of Karachi”, was shot dead on Wednesday (March 13) while travelling in her car near Orangi Town area of the country’s largest city, Karachi.
Given the history of murders of influential personalities in the city, it is obvious that her killers will not be traced. Actually, they cannot be traced. Not because they are powerful. It’s because the people are weak. They are fearful. They are biased. They are not Parveen Rehman.
So, should we forget it and move on? Of course yes.
But we can at least have a look at how the brave woman perceived the continuous and unabated violence in the city.
Ms Rehman thought that the core issue behind all the mayhem is none other than land grabbing, mainly by major political parties of the city, which then use ethnic or other cards to hide the truth.
“That [the ethnic aspect] is again a strategy. That is again a strategy to hide the real face of the horror… This perception is deliberately floated so that the focus from the real issue is diverted,” she told the interviewer when asked to give her opinion if ethnicity bred violence.
She opined that political parties manipulated the death of Bushra Zaidi and painted an ethnic picture of it.
“But once one understands that it’s not Pathan-Mohajir then one will focus on these mafias… what also happened in 1985, the Bushra Zaidi thing, what was it? It was not ethnic. It was made to be ethnic.”
She went on to name the two main political players behind all this mess—the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP).
Ms Rehman reminded many instances when she and her team were threatened by workers of political parties.
“…we had people from ANP coming into our office occupying—one month they were coming, they were threatening us that you leave this place.”
But she said that ANP is a neophyte and learned all that tactics from its political rival MQM.
“You see what has happened, and it’s very sad about ANP, ANP has learnt all the negative tactics from the MQM. What they do is immediately when violence happens, they also have started making units, they send in the unit members of somewhere else to occupy the place.” And “…it’s very unfortunate that one ethnic group, ANP, has copied all the militant tactics of the MQM.”
And other stakeholders?
“And police, and of course, all the government departments and the elected members are all partners in this,” she said.
She supported her claims by giving an example of troubled “Katti Pahari” area that how the nexus of various interests let the violence happen.
“If you just look at the Katti Pahari area, which has been the most notorious, I have a beautiful photo which shows the Noor Jahan police station and right behind it all the plotting taking place. The two together cannot happen if they don’t support each other.”
To Ms Rehman, it is again another tactic to keep people away from the reality.
“When somebody says the mafia – who is the mafia? The mafia is all the people involved in official agencies, they’re all the mafia – because they behave like one, they cut money like one.”
Politicians are responsible.
Contrary to the narrative presented by political parties that ethnicity is the bane of the city, Ms Rehman held politicians themselves responsible for all this chaos.
“I feel that the politicians by their very shallow thoughts, narrow-mindedness, give rise to these conflicts.”