DERA GHAZI KHAN: Border Military Police have booked 18 people for holding a tribal ritual called ‘Aas Aaf’ that requires a person to walk ‘unhurt’ on a track of burning coal to prove his innocence or of a fellow tribesman or a kin in cases of adultery, theft or murder.

According to Chacha BMP officials, the ritual that is still practiced by some Baloch tribes was twice held at the residence of a local, Mureed Bukhsh Alkani, in Neelani tribal area of Rajanpur.

Sources said Alkani also charged ‘rent’ for providing his place for holding the ritual and entertaining those who attended it a couple of days back.

They said during the ritual Hasan Mohammad of Mana Ahmadani, Jampur tehsil, walked on the burning coal to prove innocence of his brother Niaz who was accused of killing a local, Sawan.

In the second case, Ameer Bukhsh Leghari facing the allegation of having relations with the wife of Lalu Zarghani of Tuman Gorchani tribal area of Rajanpur, was put to the ‘test’.

The sources said in both cases the accused were declared innocent by the tribal elders who inspected the soles of the two men to ascertain they were not hurt.

On being informed of the incident, BMP, Chacha tribal area of Rajanpur registered a case against 18 people, 10 of them nominated.

Political Assistant and Commandant of Rajanpur BMP Mr Saifullah talking to Dawn said 18 people who participated in the ritual had been booked under sections 436 and 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code.The nominated accused include Mureed Bukhsh, Maoj Ali, Maulvi Ibrahim, Jan Mohammad, Bhutto Nokani, Baz Ali and Lalu.

He said Mureed Bukhsh who was host of the ritual had been arrested.

A local, Sher Mohammad, told Dawn: “Before holding of the ritual, verses from the Holy Quran are recited and then the accused (or someone on his behalf) begins 24-foot-long walk on burning coal.”

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