The case of Kohistani women condemned by a jirga took another turn on Monday when three tribesmen appeared before the court and denied that they were eyewitnesses to the alleged murder of women.
However, they were unaware of the fate of the five women who were condemned to death by a local jirga after mobile phone footage emerged of them mingling with men and singing at a village wedding.
Recording the statement in the court of Senior Civil Judge Dassu, the three tribesmen – Qadam Khan and Haji Safeer Salar of Hakeemkhel tribe and Zeb Hayat Khan of Chotaykhel tribe – rejected that they were eyewitnesses to the murder of five women of the Azadkhel tribe.
They stated on oath that the women were neither killed in front of them nor do they have any knowledge about their murder on the order of jirga.
Earlier, Muhammad Afzal, the elder brother of two men who were also condemned to death by the jirga, had claimed that the ‘condemned’ women had been slaughtered and that there were eyewitnesses to the incident.
“[Afzal] is wrongly implicating us in a case … we are totally ignorant about,” the three tribesmen said while speaking to media outside the court.
They said their village, Hakeem Abad, was at three hours’ walk from Seertaiy village, to which the girl belonged.
“We got to know about the issue when some women and administration flew to our village by helicopters on June 7th,” they added. Rights activists and officials had flown in to uncover the fate of the condemned women on the apex court orders.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.
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