Kohistan scandal: Suspects confess to killing girls after six years


Four suspects caught in relation to killing five women in Kohistan, confessed to their crime on Monday — six years after the video emerged of the women singing and clapping as young men danced to a tribal song, a local media outlet reported.

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 video got leaked, a Jirga was held by the girls’ tribe which decreed their and the boys killing under ‘Riwaj’ (a tribal custom).

On July 31, 2018, a new case was registered under Palas police station under the Supreme Court orders.

Last week, the four suspects namely Umar Khan, Saber, Mohamad Sarfraz and Saeer were arrested.

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

They said that Amna and Shaheen are still alive and will be presented before the court.

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

Afzal, however, said that the suspects are lying. “They killed all five girls by severe torture and are not identifying graves as it will reveal their brutality,” he added.

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

Former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had taken a suo motu notice of the case on June 7, 2012 and constituted a fact-finding mission on July 17, 2012 to investigate the case.

The commission went to Kohistan and investigated the matter, producing 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 girls were produced clad in burqa and veil.

On January 3, 2013, Afzal’s three brothers named Shah Faisal, Sher Wali and Raffiduddin were killed inside their homes by the girls’ tribesmen.

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

When the case was appealed to be reopened, the apex court ordered NADRA to match fingerprints and CNICs. The tests came back negative.