Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took suo motu notice on Monday of media reports that a Kohistan jirga condemned four girls to death for defying tribal customs.
According to reports, the four girls, along with two other men, were declared ‘ghul’ (fornicators) after they were allegedly caught on videotape singing and dancing together at a wedding party.
The reports of the alleged killing of four girls, and a man who was declared ‘an accomplice’, were presented before the chief justice by the registrar of the Supreme Court.
The chief justice summoned the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary, the Kohistan district police officer and the Hazara division deputy inspector general on June 6.
The video 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.
The chief justice ordered Attorney General Irfan Qadir to ascertain if the news reports about the incident were factual. He further said that, if the reports were false, and the girls had not been killed, then they should be presented before court the same day. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the reports were “wrong and baseless”.
The chief justice also told the attorney general that if, as per tradition, the women do not prefer to attend open court, then a meeting should be convened with them in the office of the attorney general and the court be briefed about the matter in chamber.
Justice Chaudhry said, “This incident is a gross violation of fundamental human rights.” He added that the Supreme Court had already given directions to crack down on such illegal jirga systems.
The police had earlier registered an FIR against two brothers, Bin Yasir and Gul Nazar, for allegedly making the film and uploading it on a video sharing site.
On Sunday, Yasir and Nazar’s elder brother, Muhammad Afzal, said the women were called back from their in-laws and locked in a room. He added that their family members subjected the women to severe torture by throwing hot water on them, beating them, and keeping them in isolation.
Afzal also said that the jirga sent over 30 men to kill one of his brothers.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.