ISLAMABAD: While adjourning the hearing, the Supreme Court has extended the deadline to present four girls, condemned to death by a jirga, before the court till 1pm tomorrow (June 7).
The court was hearing a suo motu notice of media reports that a Kohistan jirga condemned four girls to death for defying tribal customs.
Earlier, Chief Secretary Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ghulam Dastagir informed the Supreme Court that a helicopter had gone to bring the girls and asked them to wait till 6pm. However, the girls were not produced before the court. Dastagir and Attorney General Irfan Qadir cited several reasons for their failure to bring the girls to the court, including the rugged terrain and language barrier.
The Supreme Court also stated that if the authorities fail to present the girls, they must then bring the jirga members – those who issued the death decree – to the court.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had ordered the chief secretary K-P to bring the girls to the court in a helicopter.
According to reports, the four girls, along with two other men, were declared ‘ghul’ (fornicators) after they were allegedly caught on video singing and dancing together at a wedding party.
During the hearing, officials from Kohistan’s dictrict administration had appeared before the court, including the chief secretary K-P, Deputy Inspector General of Police Hazara, Commissioner Hazara Khalid Umarzai.
They had informed the court that they had failed to get in contact with the girls despite several attempts, however, they said that the girls were alive.
They had added that the culture of Kohistan does not allow men to contact girls freely.
The court had told the officials that if the girls were alive then they should take someone reputable to the girls in order to record their statement.
When the chief justice was issuing the orders, the two men accused of filming the video and uploading it on the internet – Bin Yasir and Gul Nazar –were brought before the court by the police.
Nazar had revealed before the court that the girls were killed.
The chief justice had expressed concern over the statement and had asked DIG Hazara as to why there were conflicting statements in the case.
He had said that the interior ministry was ready to extend any kind of support required, whether it was helicopters, Frontier Corps (FC) men or army personnel, but the girls should be brought before the court.
The chief justice had earlier adjourned the hearing till 2pm.
The court, however, did not record the statement of the other accused, Yasir.
Civil society members had pleaded to the court that the girls were alive and that the court should gather evidence regarding it.
The chief justice had asked what had happened to the inquiry that Rehman Malik had initiated. Attorney General Qadir had informed the court that the interior ministry had provided a helicopter and that the civil society members “could meet the girls if they wished to.”
He had further informed the court that the families of the girls were not willing to send them. He had added that so far, all the people who have been investigated regarding the video said that the video is forged.
Chief Justice Chaudhry had told AG Qadir: “You always inform us about the code of conduct, apprise us about it in this hearing, too.”
Girls were ‘slaughtered’ on May 30
Speaking to the media on the premises of the Supreme Court, Muhammad Afzal, the brother of Yasir and Nazar had said that the girls were “slaughtered” on the eve of May 30, 2012.
Afzal had said that if required, he was ready to swear by the Quran “a thousand times over.”
He had further revealed that he and his brothers were facing threats to their lives and alleged that the DIG and commissioner Hazara were planning on “killing them”.
“They are carrying out proceedings against us, but what about those who slaughtered those girls?” he had questioned.
“The only relation that I and my brothers have with this whole incident is my brothers filmed the celebrations of our uncle’s wedding,” he said.
He had said that the girls did not dance, only the men danced, while the girls clapped.
Afzal had said that the fatwa against them and the girls was given a month back by Maulana Javed in Mansehra. “After giving out the fatwa, they sent out 40-50 men to hunt us down in different areas including Battagram, Abbottabad and Mansehra.”
Revealing that the girls belonged to the same family, he had said, “Three out of them were cousins, while two of them were closely related.”
He had identified them as Bazgha, Shaheen, Amina and Begum. He could not recall the name of the fifth girl.
Afzal had further revealed that he knew four men who had seen the girls getting slaughtered.
The video had caused a furore in the community, which felt the video had tainted the honour of the tribeswomen. According to sources, elders of the Azad Khel tribe had summoned a jirga at Seertaiy village, which sentenced the four women and two men to death.
DIG Hazara assures brothers of security
DIG Hazara had assured Afzal that he will be provided security by the police and had said that he appreciated that he had stepped up and spoken for justice.
“You come to me, on my responsibility, and get your statement recorded. I assure you that you will be provided security,” the DIG told Afzal.
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