Pakistan gunmen kill prominent woman development worker

KARACHI (AFP) - Motorcycle gunmen shot dead a prominent woman development worker on Wednesday in the Pakistani city of Karachi, police said, fuelling fears of instability as the country heads towards general elections in May.

Ms Parveen Rehman, 56, was known for her work in impoverished neighbourhoods and her independent organisation, the Orangi Pilot Project, won a United Nations-Habitat award in 2001.

"She was on her way back home when armed motorcyclists intercepted her car and shot her dead," Mr Javed Odho, a senior police official, told Agence France-Presse.

Dr Mohammad Saleem of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where Ms Rehman's body was taken, said she was hit with at least four bullets.

The city of 18 million, which is Pakistan's business hub, last year saw around 2,000 people killed in violence linked to ethnic and political tensions, its deadliest toll in two decades.

Pakistan is expected to hold elections by mid-May with the federal parliament due to disband by mid-March. The polls will mark the first democratic transition between two civilian governments in Pakistani history.

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