MANSEHRA: A young girl has been killed allegedly on the orders of a local jirga in Kohistan, a local police officer confirmed on Sunday, in an incident that brings back painful memories of the deaths of around five girls from the same part of the country in 2011.

The victim was one of two girls who could be seen dancing with local boys in a video that went viral on social media platforms, said Masood Khan, the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Kolai-Palas, some 150km northwest of Mansehra.

The DSP said the victim’s body had been moved from the crime scene to a nearby health facility for autopsy.

A second girl, he said, was rescued by the pol­ice due to expected threats to her life, but a senior civil judge sent her home with her father after she ruled out any danger to her life.

The boys who appeared in the videos have gone into hiding, fearing reprisals.

The videos and photos, which were apparently edited, went viral on social media three to four days ago, DSP Khan said.

The police officer said that as per local tradition, the jirga had declared those who appeared in the images circulating on social media as ‘chor’ (thieves) and issued a decree for their killing.

An FIR has been registered, and the culprits who issued the assassination decree and those who executed will be brought to justice, the police official said.

The FIR, a copy of which was seen by Dawn, has been lodged on the complaint of the Kolai-Palas police station SHO Noor Mohammad Khan, as the victim’s family did not approach police to register a case.

Sections 109 (abetment in crime), 302 (punishment of qatl-i-amd or premeditated murder) and 311 (punishment after the waiver of qisas) of the Pakistan Penal Code have been added in the FIR.

According to the FIR, medico-legal formalities, including the autopsy, were carried out by Kolai-Palas police.

A similar incident also occurred in the area a decade ago, when a video of local girls cheering for a dancing boy in 2011 went viral.

All five women in the video were allegedly killed, along with the boy’s four brothers, on the orders of a local jirga.

The alleged killings captured international attention, and then-Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo motu notice of the incident.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2023

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