Police arrest four more suspects in Kohistan video scandal

MANSEHRA: Police arrested four more suspects in relation to the Kohistan video scandal that saw five women killed, after a video emerged of them singing and clapping as young men danced to a tribal song.

The arrested men include the deceased women’s brother and cousins.

Four other suspects caught earlier in relation to the killing of the five women have already confessed to their crime, six years after the video surfaced. 

In May 2012, a local named Afzal Kohistani had shown media a video in which his brothers were dancing at a programme, while some young women were shown singing along and clapping. After the video got leaked, a Jirga was held by the women’s tribe which decreed their and the boys killing under ‘Riwaj’ (a tribal custom).

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

However, he alleges that the police were trying to protect the main accused in the case.

The case

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

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

In November, four suspects namely Umar Khan, Saber, Mohamad Sarfraz and Saeer were arrested. Upon interrogation, the suspects confessed to killing three women Begum Jan, Sireen Jan and Bazgha by firing, saying they disposed of the bodies in Nala Chorh.

They said that two other women Amna and Shaheen were still alive.

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