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Video scandal: Rights activists want Kohistan girls produced in Supreme Court

Video scandal: Rights activists want Kohistan girls produced in Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Rights activist Farzana Bari on Saturday urged the Supreme Court to order the police to produce the five girls at the centre of the Kohistan video scandal to ascertain if they are alive or dead. She informed the top court on Wednesday that she had very strong evidence to believe the five girls were murdered as initially thought.

The case grabbed headlines four years ago when a shaky video of the girls singing as two men danced at a wedding ceremony in Kohistan district emerged along with reports that they were subsequently  killed under instructions of a Jirga.

Then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo motu notice of the alleged honour killing on June 4, 2012 but disposed of the case on the 20th of that month after a delegation comprising Bari, Civil Judge Munira Abbasi, MNA Bushra Gohar and activist Dr Fauzia Saeed visited the Kohistan village and found no evidence of the murder.

The case was reopened in August this year when Afzal Kohistani – on whose application the former chief justice took suo motu notice – filed a fresh plea informing the court that he had new evidence that the girls as well as three of his brothers were in fact murdered.

“I strangely feel and urge, if the court simply orders that the girls must be brought before this court in camera and experts may be called to verify their identity, the issue can be resolved without any further delay and waste of resources and time,” Bari said in her application filed to the court on Saturday.

The application stated that the case had assumed a strategic importance in the cultural context of Pakistan and that failure to dispense justice will strengthen a local tradition under which men and women will continue to be killed with impunity.

“We have already lost eight human lives in this case. Dispensing justice in this case will restore citizens’ faith in law,” it read.

Bari alleged that local police had formed an alliance with an elected representative of the Awami National Party to bury the whole issue. “I believe that any inquiry through local police and the administration will not bear any fruit as they had manipulated and hidden facts earlier,” she said.

The activist gave several other reasons in her application about why further investigation was required in the case. She said local leaders had held several news conferences in which they admitted that the girls were killed.

The Express Tribune

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