Mixed gathering: Cleric arrested over dancing death decree

By AFP
Published: May 29, 2012

The women allegedly sang Mahiyas (folk songs) at a wedding ceremony and danced in the presence of Na-mehram (those who one can marry in Islam). DESIGN: S. JAMAL

ISLAMABAD: Police on Tuesday arrested a cleric accused of sentencing six people to death for singing and dancing at a wedding in Kohistan.

“Police have arrested a cleric and his companion for issuing the death decree, but they totally denied it,” local administration official Aqal Badshah Khattak told AFP.

“The cleric has said he had no role in the decree and his name was misused,” Khattak said.

Police told AFP on Monday that clerics sentenced four women and two men to death after mobile phone footage emerged of them enjoying themselves at a village wedding in the mountains of Kohistan district, 175 kilometres north of the capital Islamabad.

The men and women had allegedly danced and sung together in Gada village, in defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at weddings.

But on Tuesday, district police chief Abdul Majeed Afridi said it appeared to be a case of tribal rivalry and an attempt to defame a family.

He said the video was recorded three years ago and then edited in an attempt to implicate the party goers.

“I am satisfied that there is no danger to the life of the girls,” he said.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, at least 943 women and girls were murdered last year after being accused of defaming their family’s honour.

Reader Comments (20)

  • Afzal Khan
    May 29, 2012 - 4:06PM

    According to the Gulf News of today, the “fatwa” was indeed issued by this stone-age mullah. People such as this fanatic are recklessly issuing decrees that have no significance or relevance to our times but causing undue harm not only to the victims but also to the nation which is facing a major economic crisis. Reports of such incidents are scaring away many investors (the story about the problems of a US investor in the power sector is playing havoc in the minds of potential investors who are refusing to go to Pakistan, let alone put their money in that country). How long is this country going to survive as an entity? Many big Indian companies that I know were thinking about investment in Pakistan but a series of glitches have also put them in two minds. They will probably not come to Pakistan. Terrorism and religious extremism have blinded Pakistanis; they are a scourge for mankind.

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  • Imran Con
    May 29, 2012 - 4:36PM

    It’s a pretty common occurrence for the guilty to make you work for it rather than confess straightaway, if ever.

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  • Batman
    May 29, 2012 - 4:50PM

    Must have been a clerical mistake

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  • May 29, 2012 - 5:06PM

    This mullah and his accomplice need an exemplary punishment. It seems that such type of Fatwa issuing stone age mullahs are at liberty to take this country back to stone age. Unfortunately they are winning because no one has the courage to check their nefarious designs against humanity.Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 29, 2012 - 5:15PM

    Pakistan is ruined by such non state illiterate Mullahs and government has no control on them who issue Fatwas according to their own will and wishes..

    If the youth will not dance on a wedding occasion then when will be they dancing?

    These illiterate Mullahs has threatened the entire culture and society in Pakistan.

    One must get rid from such Mullahs as quickly as possible in order to save Pakistan from further deterioration.. Recommend

  • jibran
    May 29, 2012 - 5:20PM

    All assemblies should pass laws similar to GB assembly. Mullahs spitting out venom and edicts should then be tried under terrorism charges.

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  • elcay
    May 29, 2012 - 5:31PM

    District police chief Abdul Majeed Afridi seems to be very very clever, intelligent, very very hard working and perhaps the most fearful( of fanatics) and a foresnsic expert that he was able to say that the video was recorded three years ago and then edited in an attempt to implicate the party goers.

    Qualified forensic expert(of videos) take much longer to arrive at the conclusion.Recommend

  • vasan
    May 29, 2012 - 5:36PM

    Why only this mullah? What about all those mullahs who preach hatred against other sects, religions,sex etc, What about those who preach against Polio vaccination? Why wait till they pass a fatwa. Even preaching such obnoxious things should be punishable.

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  • Supressed, Opressed, Depressed
    May 29, 2012 - 5:39PM

    An earlier report said that these women were being held in a room and being starved. I dont remember exactly whether it was by the cleric or someone else. They even said 40 people had been given the charge of killing these persons.

    ET could you follow up on those reports? Were these women held hostage or not?

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  • @plarkin
    May 29, 2012 - 5:41PM

    A fatwah is nothing but the rambling of ignorant and illiterate mullah. It shouldn’t be worth the piece of paper that it’s written on. Recommend

  • Bangash
    May 29, 2012 - 6:06PM

    Mullah has not been given any dawatnama to interfere in people’s private lives.

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  • Usman
    May 29, 2012 - 6:07PM

    943 deaths? Who is going to answer for all those?

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  • Jadugar
    May 29, 2012 - 6:28PM

    Perhaps the same sentence should be passed on this knuckle dragging Mulla, He should also be charged for conspiracy to intent murder. these people are lunatics and drunk with power. This is nothing more then mayhem and murder in the name of religion.

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  • Discostu
    May 29, 2012 - 6:42PM

    @Batman:
    Thank you, that made my day.

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  • freudianslip
    May 29, 2012 - 6:45PM

    dear express tribune, what does the visual above have to do with the story ?
    a western woman doing a seductive ballet like movement is your idea of women dancing ? why can’t a woman be shown dancing normally ?
    for your information women do dance in traditional societies of pakistan. at least use local motifs and metaphors.Recommend

  • Ammar
    May 29, 2012 - 6:48PM

    Live and Let Live – why can’t we Pakistani’s adopt this motto?

    Religion is each to his/her own.

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  • Ali
    May 29, 2012 - 7:35PM

    “dear express tribune, what does the visual above have to do with the story ?
    a western woman doing a seductive ballet like movement is your idea of women dancing ? why can’t a woman be shown dancing normally ?
    for your information women do dance in traditional societies of pakistan. at least use local motifs and metaphors.”

    I 2nd you brother. The sad part is that its all liberals in the media who are doing all this.

    Defaming religion has become a norm.

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  • Irfan
    May 29, 2012 - 8:00PM

    All Mullahs should be issued licences to teach and preach by a state body. After such an incident their licences could be revoked.

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  • Raj - USA
    May 29, 2012 - 9:28PM

    @Ali:
    Agree with your point on the picture to some extent. It looks like a lady dancing in Indian dress (sari).
    On your 2nd point that liberals are defaming the religion, I have not read anything from any news item in ET or in the comments from readers that has defamed Islam or any other religion. However, many have mocked the insanity displayed by those who proclaim themselves as the true followers of the religion. The liberals are actually bringing respect to the religion by exposing the insanity practiced by some in the name of religion.

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  • observer
    May 30, 2012 - 9:28AM

    Can we try this Mullah under the FCR?

    Or, is that reserved for fake vaccination only.

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