The four men taken into police custody on the suspicion of killing five Kohistani girls finally confessed their crime after six years. They continue to deny the crime and even claimed that video is fake and no killing took place. This case surfaced on the media in 2012. A video was released to the media in which some boys were dancing and few girls were clapping and singing in a wedding.This case took many turns and twists before this confession.
After the video got leaked, a Jirga was held by the girls’ tribe which decreed their and the boys killing under ‘Riwaj’ (a tribal custom). A man Afzal Kohistani claimed that girls shown in the video had been killed on the orders of a tribal Jirga. The tribal elders and Jirga put so much pressure on the local people that they denied the killing ever took place in that area. They claimed that all the girls and boys shown in the video are alive.
Afzal, whose brothers were in the video, appealed to the court that the five girls Bazgha, Sireen Jan, Amna, Begum Jan and fifth girl Shaheen, who took them to the programme, were all killed upon the Jirga orders?
Former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had taken a suo moto notice of the case on June 7, 2012 and constituted a fact-finding mission on July 17, 2012 to investigate the case. The commission went to Kohistan and investigated the matter, producing a report on July 20, 2012, which stated that the girls were alive.
One of the commission members, Dr Farzana Bari expressed her doubts that the girls weren’t the same and some other girls were produced clad in burqa and veil. On January 3, 2013, Afzal’s three brothers named Shah Faisal, Sher Wali and Raffiduddin were killed inside their homes by the girls’ tribesmen.
Meanwhile, Farzana Bari with the help of human rights activists and Afzal had some tests conducted to ensure that the girls were same, but the tests didn’t match. When the case was appealed to be reopened, the apex court gave National Database and Registration Authority orders to match fingerprints and CNICs. The tests came back negative.
On July 31, 2018, a new case was registered under Palas police station under the Supreme Court orders. Last week, the four suspects namely Umar Khan, Saber, Mohamad Sarfraz and Saeer were arrested.
The accused confessed during interrogation the killing of three girls Begum Jan, Sireen Jan and Bazgha by firing, saying they disposed the bodies in Nala Chorh. They said that Amna and Shaheen are still alive and will be presented before the court.
District Police Officer Kohistan Iftikhar Khan said that raids are under way to arrest eight suspects who produced other girls for fake identification. Afzal, however, said that the suspects are lying.
“They killed all five girls by severe torture and are not identifying graves as it will reveal their brutality,” he added.
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20 February, 2019