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New JIT formed to probe Perween Rahman’s murder

Updated February 25, 2018

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KARACHI: The Sindh government on Saturday set up a new joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the 2013 murder of Perween Rahman, the then director of the Orangi Pilot Project, primarily to trace the motive for her killing and also to examine the role of police investigators, who allegedly “manipulated the initial findings”, said an official.

The fresh move, he said, by the provincial authorities came on a request from the Sindh inspector general, who sought the formation of a new JIT to trace more facts about the incident though key suspects of the killing were claimed to have been arrested by the law enforcement agency over the past five years.

“The new JIT has been set up on the request of IG A.D. Khowaja,” he said. “From police, the SSP West would be part of the team with officials from Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, and the intelligence agencies. The team would definitely like to meet the desired results within 15 days.”

The Sindh IG moved the request following the Supreme Court directives, which was approached by Aquila Ismail, sister of the slain Ms Rahman, and Zohra Yousuf of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan for reinvestigation into the case by police, and interrogation of the investigating officers — sub-inspectors Raja Ulfat Hussain and Ashfaq Hussain Baloch — for their alleged involvement in manipulating the initial investigation into Ms Rahman’s murder.

Ms Rahman was killed on a March 2013 evening while she was returning home from her office in Orangi Town. The very next day of Ms Rahman’s murder, police had claimed to have killed a Taliban operative named Qari Bilal in an encounter, declaring him the murderer, resulting in the closure of the case.

However, the Supreme Court in April 2014 ordered the authorities to conduct a fresh probe into the murder after a judicial inquiry revealed that the police officers had manipulated the investigation. The prime suspect in her murder, Raheem Swati, was arrested by Karachi police in May 2016 following the Supreme Court’s directives. The other prime suspect in the case, Ahmed Khan alias Pappu Kashmiri, was arrested in Mansehra in March 2015. Despite multiple arrests and progress the motive for the killing remained unclear that also raised questions about the role of police investigators assigned with the task.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2018