Perween Rahman – ‘Karachi’s Mother’

Perween Rahman was an architect-turned-activist who devoted her life to improving the lives of people in Karachi’s poorest neighbourhoods. She was the Director of the Orangi Pilot Project Research and Training Institute (OPP), a Karachi-based NGO that works with the city’s poorest communities to improve their neighbourhoods. Since the 1980s, the Orangi Pilot Project has provided thousands of people with improved water, sanitation and housing.

Perween was murdered by masked men who shot at her car as she travelled home from work on the afternoon of 13 March 2013. She had been documenting land use around Karachi, and this may have antagonised the city’s powerful land-grabbing criminals. Perween Rahman was a very brave, committed woman who worked for the uplift of the poor and marginalised. This film by Balazs Gardi is being included in Pakistan Calling as a tribute to the work and great legacy that Perween Rahman left the people of Karachi through a lifetime of selfless public service for the poor and the needy.

In this film, Perween discusses the issues around corruption, organised crime and the failures of civic governance in Karachi. She highlights the criminal practices involved in the multimillion dollar business of siphoning and stealing Karachi’s water supply. We hope this film inspires others to continue to support people such as her in Pakistan. Perween Rahman RIP 1957-2013.

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