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Civil society activists protest the killing of Mohammad Afzal Kohistani outside the NPC on Thursday. — White Star
Civil society activists protest the killing of Mohammad Afzal Kohistani outside the NPC on Thursday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Civil society activists on Thursday held a protest against the assassination of Afzal Kohistani and demanded constitution of a judicial commission to probe the murder saying police were not nominating the suspects as requested by his family in the first information report (FIR).

Mr Kohistani, who exposed the Kohistan honour killing scandal was shot dead in Abbottabad on Wednesday. In 2012, three girls were murdered on the orders of a village Jirga after a video was leaked showing Mr Kohistani dancing at a wedding ceremony in the presence of the girls.

Later, Kohistani’s two brothers were killed due to which his whole family had to shift from their native area. Mr Kohistani had petitioned the Supreme Court to get justice.

Addressing the protesters outside the National Press Club, rights activist Farzana Bari, who on the directions of the apex court visited the area twice to investigate the matter, said Mr Kohistani had continuously been seeking protection but no one bothered to help him.

Say judicial commission should be constituted to probe the murder as police are not nominating suspects as requested by family of deceased

“Now police have arrested Mr Kohistani’s nephew who was living with him for his protection. Despite the fact that the family knows the culprits the police are not mentioning their names in the FIR. Mr Kohistani belonged to a well-off family but after the Jirga decision the family’s land was occupied forcing them to live from hand to mouth,” she said.

“I believe that police, administration and politicians are responsible for the killings, protecting the culprits and hiding the facts,” Ms Bari said.

Aurat Foundation’s Executive Director Naeem Mirza said it was strange that the National Commission on Human Rights and other forums did not play any role to provide protection to the deceased.

“We demand that a judicial commission should be established. The chief justice of Pakistan should take a suo motu action and the prime minister should also speak on the issue,” he said.

Rights activist Fauzia Saeed said she was shocked to know that a number of honour killing incidents had taken place in that area.

Another rights activist Tahira Abdullah said it was unfortunate that Mr Kohistani could not be protected.

“Afzal was making efforts for the rights of women and now the life of his wife is also under threat,” she said.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2019