While the Khyber-Pakthunkhwa chief secretary failed to produce the five girls before the Supreme Court, the chief justice sent a fact-finding mission comprising women activists to visit the Peech Bela union council of Kohistan.
Human rights activists Farzana Bari and Riffat Butt and two other women reached Kohistan by helicopter on Wednesday afternoon. The helicopters landed at Pattan Tehsil due to unfavourable weather conditions. The mission, then, flew to district headquarters Dassu, where they stayed for the night.
The activists met locals, including journalists, and gathered information about reports that the five women were killed on the orders of a jirga. The mission will reach union council Peech Bela today (Thursday) where they are to visit the homes of the women to confirm if they were alive.
One of the team members, on condition of anonymity, said that some administration officials were trying to mislead them but added that the team was determined to reach the village and determine the truth.
None of the mission members have met any witnesses yet who could provide evidence that the women had been killed.
Meanwhile an official source said that the helicopters could only fly to the area provided the weather is favourable today (Thursday).
According to reports, the elders of Azad Khel tribe (the women’s tribe) are reluctant to expose their women to outsiders, as it is against their tribal customs.
On the other hand, the elders of the Salikhel tribe, (the men’s tribe) have announced that they will identify the place where the women were buried without final rituals.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.