Afzal Kohistani, the man who exposed the Kohistan honour killing scandal, and nine others have been killed over the video scandal, activist Farzana Bari told the Senate’s Standing Committee on Human Rights on Monday.
The committee has requested for the case to be forwarded to an anti-terrorism court. They have ordered for provision of security to the family members of the deceased and Bari.
Five women were allegedly killed in the Palas area in 2012 after a video showed them clapping while male dancers performed at a wedding ceremony. They were killed on the orders of a village Jirga. The women in the video belonged to the Azadkhel tribe and the men were from the Salekhel tribe. The Azadkhel elders felt that this brought “dishonor” to them.
A jirga issued a decree that the men and women in the video along with a 12-year-old girl had to be killed. Soon after the edict was issued, the men went into hiding. Afzal, a brother of the men in the video, decided he would not stay silent and took it upon himself to bring it to the attention of the media. He was shot dead on March 7.
The family of the women say they are alive and well. They even presented them in court, however, many people were suspicious of this.
Bari was part of the first fact-finding mission which was sent to investigate the issue on the orders of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad. The commission had concluded that the women were alive. She opposed the commission’s report in a dissent note and said that there were doubts surrounding the identity of the girls produced before the commission and she wasn’t sure if they were the same girls from the video or some random burqa-clad girls.
Bari attended the meeting of the standing committee along with Kohistani’s brother and uncle.
She said that a JIT should be formed to investigate Afzal Kohistani’s murder. Kohistani’s nephew has been falsely accused of the crime in order to save the real culprits, she remarked.
Bari accused the SHO of being involved in the cover-up too.