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How Rulers Of Karachi Ignored The Advice Of Arif Hasan, Perween Rehman

Here is a poignant documentary “A city by the Sea” made in the year 2000-2001 when the then government was about to give our entire sea front to a UAE company through a secret deal.

I met filmmaker Mahera at a citizens’ protest march along sea view and she offered to make a documentary on the sea and water system of Karachi. Mahera Omar worked on a script written by Shandana Minhas, and filmed this documentary in the year 2000-2001. This entire documentary was funded by Getz Pharma through a grant to Shehri. This was the first year that I met Mahera who is a gift to this city and the community. She had just returned from the United States.

In this documentary the late Perween Rehman, a student of Arif Hasan, an architect, urban planner and director of Orangi pilot project talks about how the city’s natural waterways, nullas, aquaducta have been choked. Water ways, small and large wetlands (like the ones which were reclaimed and the present day Shadi halls of creek club are built) are being taken over by the civil and military city planners and building companies, clubs, apartments etc. (The English version of this documentary is posted below).

Perween Rehman had spent a life time  studying the sewage and water systems of karachi and several other cities. A few years later, she started documenting the illegal occupation of buildings, water ways, wetlands and nullas by the MQM, PPP, DHA and Cantonment boards.

After she had competed much of her study and a little before it could be published, she was murdered by “namaloom afraad”. She was only 56 years old when she was killed.

I wish the city’s civil and military planners and builders had listened to Perveen a Rehman and Arif Hassan who have been researching, writing and speaking on this issue for the past 40 years.

Both Arif Hasan (Director of Urban Resource Centre) and Perween Rehman are/ were selfless academics who only gave their knowledge and service to the country. They were invited world over to speak and contribute in city planning but their own country had/ has no use for them.

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