We still do not know what happened in the remote Dassu village of Kohistan. We still do not know if the five women reported to be dead by a man whose brothers recorded videos of them are, in fact, really dead. What we do know is that the women have not been produced before the Supreme Court and no one quite knows where the truth lies.
According to a member of the team of women activists who visited Kohistan on Court orders, Dr Farzana Bari, she and her fellow fact-finders were able to ascertain the identity of only one woman.
Writing in this newspaper, Dr Bari has said that they were unsure who the second woman they saw was and the team was unable to find out anything about the other three who lived at an even remoter spot. The fact that members of the jirga who had given the death verdict, accompanied the activists makes it less likely that the villagers spoke the truth.
The Supreme Court is still locked in its struggle to discover what happened. Dr Bari’s warning that the women may be killed after the attention on the case fades away is also ominous. What is most frightening is that such incidents can still take place in our country. It appears that local officials have little desire to find out what has really transpired and are engaged in a game to cover up the entire matter. In fact, only media reports taken up by the Court brought the matter to light. We do not know how many other women may have been killed in secrecy in such parts of our country. It is also, of course, a reflection on our situation that even today, we should be talking of five women possibly killed merely for clapping their hands in the company of men. It is imperative that we get to the bottom of the matter and discover the whole truth. The Supreme Court must persist in its efforts and we hope it will be joined by reporters and human rights activists so that the fate of all those involved in the murky incident can come to light.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2012.
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