Nov 28, 2023
As the murder of a young girl in Kohistan on the orders of a jirga sent shock waves across the country, police have expanded the scope of the investigation to include more relatives of the victim. The father involved in the girl’s murder was taken into custody, while the other accused are still absconding.
The girl was killed on Sunday in the Barsharyal village of Kohistan’s Kolai-Palas, around 150 kilometers northwest of Mansehra.
According to the police, the victim was one of two girls who could be seen dancing with local boys in a viral video. At the same time, there are also concerns that the images circulating on social media are doctored. Police also approached the Federal Investigation Agency’s cybercrime wing for an inquiry.
The second girl was rescued by police and produced before a local magistrate, but she insisted on staying with her family, stating that there was no threat to her life.
Kohistan DPO Mukhtiar Ahmad Khan dispelled the impression that it was a formal jirga that had issued the orders of the murder. Instead, he said, it was members of her own family who had decided to kill her after the video went viral.
While speaking in the Aaj News Program Spotlight with Munizae Jahangir, DPO Khan expressed his determination to bring the accused involved in the murder to justice. He ruled out the option of an out-of-court settlement as he said that the FIR of the murder was registered by Noor Muhammad Khan the SHO of the Palas police station, under Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 302, 311 and 109. He said the other accused would be arrested soon.
Memories of a Murder
This is not the first incident of its kind in Kohistan district. An incident that had occurred in the area a decade ago, shook the nation, when a video of local girls cheering for a dancing boy in 2011 went viral and afterwards all five women in the video were killed, along with the boy’s four brothers, also on the orders of a local jirga.
Human rights activist Dr Farzana Bari, expressing her views on Spotlight, shared that the perpetrators of the 2011 video case were recently released, which has yet again sparked a similar trend of honour killing in Kohistan.
“It is important to think what message has been communicated to that area through their release,” she added.
Many such incidents have been reported from Kohistan, when women have been killed in the name of so-called honor. Feminist and human rights activist Tahira Abdullah called it ‘a tragedy’ and emphasized that these incidents should be dealt with according to the law instead of being linked to a culture.
“Why don’t we deal with these issues on state level? The question arises why the state failed to act before the incidents happen?” she said.
Many people including some activists and politicians took to social media to denounce the recent murder in Kohistan:
کوہستان میں سوشل میڈیا پر تصویر وائرل ہونے پر معصوم لڑکی کے سفاکانہ قتل کی شدید مذمت کرتی ہوں۔ قتل میں ملوث لڑکی کے ورثاء، رشتے داروں اور جرگے میں شامل تمام لوگوں کے خلاف سخت قانونی کاروائی کی جائے۔ کوہستان میں 2011 میں 5 لڑکیوں کو ایسے ہی ایک واقعے میں قتل کیا گیا تھا، 2012 اور… pic.twitter.com/48pf121hj6
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) November 28, 2023
— Meena Gabeena (@gabeeno) November 27, 2023