KOHISTAN: The Kohistan video scandal took a new turn after Afzal Kohistani requested the reopening of the case, and told The Express Tribune on Sunday that if the matter was not decided through court, a bloody feud may stretch for years between the Azadkhel and Salehkhel tribes.
In May 2012, Kohistani, a native of Kohistan district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, approached local media agencies with the information that a local jirga of his area had condemned to death five girls of the Azadkhel tribe and two boys of the Salehkhel tribe for clapping and singing at a local wedding held in March 2012. Such mingling with the opposite gender was said to go against the tribal customs of the area.
Kohistani later claimed that the four girls seen in the video, along with a teenage girl who was also present at the scene, were killed on May 30 in accordance with the tribal decree.
Upon this revelation, the Supreme Court took suo motu notice and sent a fact finding mission to the area on June 4 that reported back that the women were alive. When the commission met Molvi Javed, the head of the jirga, it was informed that no killings had taken place. Following this finding, the case was abruptly disposed of.
However, Kohistani said that jirga authorities presented similar-looking girls to the commission which deluded court authorities into believing that the girls were alive.
On January 4, Kohistani told The Express Tribune that his three brothers Shah Faisal, Safi ud Din and Sher Wali were killed during an attack by over a dozen armed men from the Azadkhel tribe. He said that his brothers were involved in the video too, and the jirga had ordered their death as well.
As per the tribal culture of Kohistan, whenever both men and women are condemned to death for violation of tribal culture, the men are punished before woman. But in this case, the women were murdered first as the accused boys went into hiding, said Kohistani. He said that since he was poor, “no one listened to him”. But it has now proved that the tribal custom has claimed eight lives of innocent people who did not commit an act that could be described as against the Islamic or penal laws.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2013.
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