By: HASNAAT MALIK
ISLAMABAD: The apex court has set a two-week deadline for the completion of an inquiry into the alleged killing of five girls at a wedding party.
The deadline was given to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government and Kohistan’s district police officer.
The case grabbed headlines four years ago after a shaky footage emerged of a group of young women clapping and singing as two men danced during a wedding ceremony in the far-flung Kohistan district.
According to Afzal Kohistani, on whose application the then chief justice took suo motu notice, the four women as well as a minor girl were later killed on May 30, 2012 after a Jirga allegedly ordered their execution. However, the bodies of the girls were never recovered.
The Supreme Court on June 20, 2012 disposed of the case after a delegation comprising Civil Judge Munira Abbasi, MNA Bushra Gohar and rights activists – Dr Farzana Bari and Dr Fauzia Saeed –visited the village where the incident allegedly took place and submitted its report.
The case was reopened in August when Afzal filed a fresh plea, urging the court that he had new evidence the girls as well as three of his brothers were killed.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the K-P’s Advocate General Latif Yousafzai told the SC’s three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, that police had gone to the area of the incident and further inquired about the girls’ deaths.
He said the police had recorded statement of 11 persons –including two individuals whose statements were recorded under section 164 CrPc. He said the police were still investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, rights activist Farzana Bari told the bench that she had very strong evidence that the five girls had been murdered. The bench asked her to submit the statement in writing within three days.
However, Bari said she might not be available at the next date of the hearing as she had been receiving threats. “If something happens to me or if I am not alive [by the next hearing] then the case should be registered against male family members of the murdered girls,” she said.
Bari said in June 2012 when the case was disposed of, the then chief justice had stated that: “If later on she [Bari] has overwhelming evidence that the incident took place then she should send that information to the judges in the chambers for perusal.”
The bench directed Bari to submit the statement along with evidence in the SC office. The hearing of case is adjourned for two weeks.