Pakistan: Suspected Honor Killing of Five Girls for Celebrating with Boys

Update (17 July, 2012):

The Supreme Court of Pakistan dismissed the honor killing case on 20 June, 2012. Court documents state that the girls are alive and reports of their killing were untrue. These developments took place after an independent commission including well-respected rights activists Dr. Fouzia Saeed and Farzana Bari, visited the village where the girls were allegedly killed after a jirga decisionFarzana Bari reported that she met two of the girls who were shown in the video and wrote an analysis of the whole episode, which generated this comment from Parveen:

I really appreciate Court’s quick action on Kohistan’s issue and media as well. Jirga system and acid throwing on women should be strickly ban and implemented to become civilized society.

According to reports, a jirga (assembly of tribal elders) in Kohistan district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, has ordered the killing of five girls on the allegation of dancing and listening to music with boys during a marriage ceremony in their locality. Afzal Khan, the brother of one the accused dancing boys, has claimed that the girls are already dead.

The women were shot dead by their families in the remote village of UC Peesh Bela. The tribal code of life supported by narrow-minded religious interpretation has killed many innocent people in that region. A similar case was reported four months back when a local jirga ordered the killing of four girls and two boys on similar allegations. They were sentenced after a mobile phone video emerged of them singing and dancing at a reception in the remote Gada village in the mountainous district of Kohistan.

Such an act of horrendous terrorism was done by issuing a fatwa(religious decree). The members of the jirga consider singing and dancing a strict violation of the tribal code of life. This violation became the basis for condemning these five girls to death.

Tazeen at The Reluctant Mind highlights the outrageous fatwas issued by a Kohistan former legislator:

Maulana Abdul Haleem, of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur Rehman, came up with a series of misogynist fatwas, clearly detailing what should be the priorities of his political and religious followers. For starters, the fatwa declares formal education for women to be unIslamic. As just declaring the act of going to school and getting some education irreligious was not enough, he also had to reprimand the parents who send their girls to schools in Kohistan and asked them to terminate their education. [..]

The fatwa does not end here. It goes on to declare all the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the region as ‘hubs of immodesty’.

Conflicting reports are coming from the KPK government officials. The Information Minister of the KPK province, Mian Ifthikhar Hussain, says that the news related to the killing of the five girls is “wrong and baseless“, although his claim lacks evidence.

To solve this ambiguity, the supreme court of Pakistan has taken a suo motto notice on the Kohistan killing. It had ordered the KPK government to produce the five girls, but the government has failed to do so.

Kohistan scene. Image from Flickr by yumievriwan. CC BY-NC-ND.

Kohistan scene. Image from Flickr by yumievriwan. CC BY-NC-ND.

The vibrant civil society of Pakistan has so many times spoken for a complete ban on the jirga system. Shereen Kamaal of the Aurat Foundation (Woman Foundation) strongly condemns such brutalities.

Idress Kamal, a tribal elder, says that neither Islam nor tribal values allows such action of mammoth brutality.

Nasr Ahmed rightfully tweets:

@Nasr_MTA: The Pakistani Auschwitz are Khoistan, Balochistan, Sindh or wherever the Honour killing is taken place

Sonia Wahab writes:

There is just digust in honour killing.

Malik Hamza comments:

disgusting (sic) and insane radical people making our religion a shame.

There are more reactions and updates in Twitter:

@shahbazzahid: Overheard a resident of #Kohistan saying this > “now, I have started thinking the girls are not alive”

@shahbazzahid: Maulana Javed, head of some jirga in #Kohistan ordered for the killings – says Muhammad Afzal Khan

@beenasarwar: RT @AleemMaqbool: team of pak officials has landed in pattan, kohistan to find out whether or not 5 women have been killed for celebrating with men at wedding.

1 comment

  • Update on story: On directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a team of social workers and the Commissioner Hazara went on a fact-finding mission to the Sertay village in Kohistan and met two of the five girls reportedly killed on order of a jirga. 
    “We met two girls, Shaheen and Amina and they are happy with their families,”  Dr Fouzia Saeed, Chairperson, National Implementation Watch Committee (NIWC)  told The Express Tribune.”Saeed said that when they reached the girls’ village, they found it to be deserted. Amid rumors of the families running away, the group decided to divide itself and made teams to search for the girls.“After traversing rough terrain, we found two girls,” said Saeed. She said that they took pictures so they would be able to recognise the girls. Upon meeting them, Saeed said that the girls “did not seem scared.”“We wanted to bring the girls back but the administration said that the families would mind it,” said Saeed.“It is now up to the chief justice to tell us whether this proof is sufficient or not.” (source: )

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