International Federation For Human Rights / World Organisation Against Torture
URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY
PAK 002 / 0313 / OBS 025
March 19, 2013
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against
Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Pakistan.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed of the assassination, in Karachi, of Ms. Perveen
Rehman, a highly respected social activist who was working vigorously for the emancipation
of the poor and marginalised people in Karachi through the “Orangi Pilot Project”.
According to the information received, on March 13, 2013, Ms. Perveen Rehman was
brutally shot dead by four armed men on two motorcycles, while travelling in her car near the
western Karachi’s Orangi area. No militant group has claimed the attack.
Ms. Perveen Rehman was reportedly shot twice on the face and once in the neck, shortly
after she left her office. Ms. Rehman was rushed to the local Abbasi Shaheed Hospital,
where she subsequently died from her wounds.
Ms. Perveen Rehman had previously reported being subjected to death threats. On one
occasion, an armed man had reportedly stormed her offices and had ordered staff to leave.
Ms. Parveen Rehman was a very well respected teacher of architecture and one of the most
committed and courageous defenders of the cause of the poor and the disadvantaged in
Pakistan over the last 30 years. She was the director of the internationally renowned “Orangi
Pilot Project” (Karachi), one of Pakistan’s most successful non-for-profit social programmes,
which helps local communities escape from poverty. She inherited the direction of the
“Orangi Pilot Project” in 1999 from Dr. Akhtar Hamed Khan (who founded the project in the
1980s) and maintained the project as a pioneering institution in the areas of urban
development, rural planning, water and sewerage management, poor children’s education
and a genuine micro-credit service.
Ms. Perveen Rehman had recently been documenting the situation in villages close to
Karachi, which are affected by land grabs and religious extremism.
The motive behind her murder remains unclear, but the incident appears to be another case
of ongoing targeted and violent attacks on human rights defenders, NGOs representatives
and social workers in many parts of the country. It also demonstrates the nexus between
criminal and political elements involved in land grabbing.
On March 14, 2013, the provincial parliament of Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital,
offered a vote of condolence for her.
However, the investigation has so far remained inconclusive although the police claimed that
the Tehrik-e-Taliban was involved, and killed one of its leaders, Mr. Qari Bilal, in an
“encounter” following Ms. Rehman’s assassination.
The Observatory firmly denounces the assassination of Ms. Rehman, which seems to be
related to her human rights activities, and to aim at silencing her work in social and economic 2
development of the poor and marginalised people in the country. The Observatory offers
sincere condolences to the bereaved family and to Ms. Rehman’s friends and colleagues.
The Observatory urges the authorities of Pakistan to:
i. Carry out an effective, thorough and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned
killing, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil, competent
and impartial tribunal, and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;
ii. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in
iii. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human
Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General
Assembly, in particular:
– its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association
with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and
fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
– its Article 6 (c) which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in
association with others to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance,
both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and,
through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those
– and its Article 12.2 which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to
ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in
association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure
adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of
his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.
iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in
accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments
ratified by Pakistan.
• His Excellency Raja Pervez Ashraf, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Prime Minister
House, Islamabad. Tel no: + 92 519213562 Fax: + 92 51 9221596 E-mail:
• His Excellency Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan, President’s Secretariat,
Islamabad. Tel: +92 51 9204801/9214171. Fax: +92 51 9207458 Email:
• Dr. Faqir Hussain, Registrar, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Constitution Avenue,
Islamabad. Fax: + 92 51 9213452 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Ambassador Zamir Akram, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations in
Geneva, 56, Rue de Moillebeau, Case Postale 434, 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland.
Fax: +41-22-734-8085. Email: email@example.com
Please also write to diplomatic representations of Pakistan in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, March 19, 2013
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.3
The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights
Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
FOR PDF FILES FOLLOW LINK: PDF 025 PAK_002_0313_OBS 025