Kohistan video scandal: Suspects confess to killing girls after six years

10:03 PM | 3 Dec, 2018
Kohistan video scandal: Suspects confess to killing girls after six years
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KARACHI - After a strenuous six years of probe, four suspects involved in killing five women in Kohistan confessed to their crime on Monday.

The confession was made years after a video emerged of the women singing and clapping as young men danced to a tribal song before being killed.

In May 2012, a local named Afzal Kohistani had showed media a video in which his brothers were dancing at a programme, while some girls were shown singing along and clapping. After the emergence of the video, a Jirga was held by the girls’ tribe which reportedly issued orders to kill the boys and girls under a tribal custom ‘Riwaj’.

Afzal, whose brothers were featured in the video, appealed to the court that the five girls Bazgha, Sireen Jan, Amna, Begum Jan and Shaheen, who took them to the programme, were all killed upon the Jirga orders.

Following this, former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had taken a suo moto notice of the case and constituted a fact-finding mission on July 17, 2012 to investigate the case.

The commission investigated the matter and produced a report on July 20, 2017, which stated that the girls were alive.

One of the commission members, Dr Farzana Bari expressed her doubts that the girls weren’t the same and some other burqa-clad girls were produced to confuse the commission.

Amid an ongoing probe, Afzal’s three brothers named Shah Faisal, Sher Wali and Raffiduddin were killed inside their homes by the girls' tribesmen on January 3, 2013.

On the other hand, Bari with the help of human rights activists and Afzal conducted some tests to ensure that the girls were the same but the tests didn’t match.

When the case was reopened, the apex court directed the National Database and Registration Authority  (Nadra) to match fingerprints and CNICs; the tests came negative.

On July 31, 2018, a new case was registered under Palas police station under the supreme court orders and last week, the four suspects namely Umar Khan, Saber, Mohamad Sarfraz and Saeer were arrested.

Upon interrogation, the suspects have now confessed to killing three girls Begum Jan, Sireen Jan and Bazgha by firing, saying they disposed of the bodies in Nala Chorh.

"Amna and Shaheen are still alive and will be presented before the court," admitted the suspects.

District Police Officer Kohistan Iftikhar Khan has said that raids are under way to arrest eight suspects who produced other girls for fake identification.

Afzal, however, disputed the confession and contends that all the fiv girls were killed by severe torture.