A suspect, who was arrested last month, reportedly confessed to his involvement in the assassination of prominent social activist Parveen Rehman and informed the Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) that local leaders of Awami National Party had hired Taliban militants to assassinate Rehman, it emerged on Sunday.
The police had arrested Amjad Hussain from Manghopir area on October 24 in connection with the murder of Rehman and registered a case against him under charges of 7-ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.)
Renowned social worker Rehman was the director of Orangi Pilot Project, her office was located at Qasba Mor in Sector-5A, Orangi Town. She was gunned down in March 2013.
A JIT was constituted following the arrest of Hussain, which recently completed its findings and has submitted a report to the Sindh home department.
The accused told the JIT members that he and Raheem Swati — the prime suspect in the case — lived in front of the OPP office.
“Awami National Party (ANP) leaders Ayaz Swati and Raheem Swati had tried to obtain a designated area to construct a Karate centre, but despite repeated requests, Rehman refused to provide the land to them inside the OPP compound,” sources quoted the accused as saying before the JIT.
The suspect told the JIT that Rehman termed the local leaders as “ANP’s Qabza Mafia”, which they considered as an “insult” to them and their party.
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The arrested suspect told the JIT members that in January 2013 a meeting was convened at Raheem Swati’s residence in which he [Amjad Hussain], Ayaz Swati and Ahmed alias Pappu were present.
Hussain said they planned the assassination of Parveen Rehman "out of rage and as an act of revenge.”
“Raheem Swati, using Ayaz’s phone, called a local commander of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Moosa and Mehfoozullah alias Bhaloo, who both agreed to assassinate Rehman for money. They were assured of payment after completion of the task,” the confessional statement read.
Ayaz and Raheem directed Pappu to remain in touch with Moosa and Bhaloo. Subsequently, Hussain, Raheem and Ayaz started monitoring the routine of Parveen Rehman and intimated Moosa and Bhaloo.
“On March 13, 2013, Moosa, Bhaloo and Pappu targeted Parveen Rehman in front of Pakhtoon Market at 07:30pm,” the suspect confessed.
The accused Hussain informed the JIT members that at that time, he and Ayaz were “present at their [the killers] back for support.” He further disclosed that on the same evening, Moosa intimated Raheem Swati that they had completed their task, “now you have to pay.”
The accused further said that he and Ayaz went to Raheem’s house and told him about the details of the job done by Pappu Kashmiri, Moosa and Bhaloo.
“During initial investigation by police, he (Amjad Husain) and other people of the vicinity recorded their statements to misguide the police,” a source said.
The accused revealed that Raheem Swati told him that owing to the non-payment of money, Moosa called Raheem Swati after a couple of days to pay Rs4 million but he could not manage. Therefore, Moosa and his accomplices attacked Raheem Swati’s home with grenades.
The accused said that because of this attack, Swati got scared and escaped to his native town.
Parveen Rehman, a media-shy social worker who devoted her life to the development of the impoverished neighbourhoods across the country, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013.
The very next day, police killed a Taliban operative named Qari Bilal in an encounter and claimed he was the murderer, resulting in a closure of the case.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan in April 2014 ordered authorities to conduct a fresh probe into Parveen Rehman's murder after a judicial inquiry had revealed that police officers had manipulated the investigation.