By Sohail KhanDecember 02, 2016Print : National
ISLAMABAD: In a stunning disclosure, the Supreme Court (SC) was informed on Thursday that five girls who were visible in the video scandal in Kohistan were either not alive or they had fled and gone missing, most probably due to fear of consequences of their traditions.
In pursuance of the court’s order, District and Sessions Judge (D&SJ) Kohistan submitted a report before a two-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan, with Justice Mushir Alam as the other member.
In 2012, the SC took suo moto notice on the issue after reports came up that religious leaders had allegedly issued an edict for killing the four women and two men after a mobile phone video surfaced showing the six singing and dancing at a wedding in a remote village of Kohistan.
On November 10, the court directed D&SJ Kohistan to visit along with DPO Kohistan and a senior female police officer the spot wherein girls were residing and after verifying their status, submit report before it within two weeks.
Advocate General Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) Abdul Latif Yousafzai had submitted a report on behalf of DPO, Kohistan, and informed that the police recorded statements of 46 witnesses under Section 164 of CrPC.
He had told the court that according to the evidence collected the girls were alive. He informed the court that in 2012 the KP administration had verified that the girls were alive.
Dr Farzana Bari, a Human Rights activist however, told the court if the police and the KP AG stance was that the girls were alive then order should be passed to present them before the court and let the bench verify their identity in camera.
In his report, the D&SJ Kohistan submitted brief facts of their visit to the spot. It made the gloomy disclosure that Mst Siran Jan and Bazeega - the two girls produced before them were not the girls allegedly visible in the video.
In the light of Nadra report read with preceding observation it would not be unsafe to conclude and presume that other girls before them were also not the girls visible in the video”, the report added.
Now the question arises that in case of their non-production before them, whether it would be safe to believe them to be dead, the report asked.
It said that keeping in view history of the case, failure of the elders in producing the actual girls especially Mst Siran Jan and Mst Bazeega before them, observation about the girls highlighted and Nadra report, the reply of the query would be certainly in the positive and accordingly answer of reference in the negative. However, for the sake of this report alone, contrary to this conclusion, all the elders of the area were unanimous that the girls were alive.
“The view taken and expressed by me/us is the outcome of human observation, not free from error. It could be right or wrong, and can lead to an inference that either the girls are not alive or they had fled away and gone missing well aware of the consequences of traditional approach of their elders in such cases”, says the report.”
The report submitted that a definite answer about their being alive or not demands exhaustive inquiry both discreet and conspicuous through involvement of governmental agencies and forensic means.
It was informed that after receiving the order of the court he contacted Nadra office asking them to furnish family tree if the fathers of the girls and it was furnished by Nadra.
Luckily Mst Siran Jan and Mst Bageeza were found having prepared ID cards back in the year 2011. The girls as well as their fathers were inquired about making of ID cards and all vehemently denied having prepared any ID cards by the said two girls.
This denial on the part of girls and their fathers in juxtaposition with Nadra record alone was sufficient to hold them untrue and the produced girls as not subject of video scandal, however, to meet the ends of justice and keeping in view strict adherence of the
locals to their customs an traditions effort should be made to establish the identity of the produced girls through bio-metric system, says the report.
It was informed that the elders were persuaded and were made aware of the consequences and were asked to bring just two girls to Pattan for verification but they blatantly refused.
It is pertinent to mention here that the case of ‘honour’ killing in Kohistan came to spotlight four years ago after a shaky footage, seemingly shot on a mobile phone, showing a group of young women clapping and singing as two men danced during a wedding ceremony in 2012, became public.
According to Afzal Kohistani, on whose application the then Chief Justice had taken suo moto notice of the case. Four women and the minor girls were killed on May 30, 2012 in accordance with the Jirga’s decree. However, their bodies were never recovered.