ISLAMABAD: A member of the team sent to Kohistan on the orders of the Supreme Court to ascertain the status of the five women suspected of having been murdered confirmed on Thursday that four of the women were alive, DawnNews reported.
The court had been hearing a suo motu notice on the issue since reports came up that clerics had allegedly issued orders for the killing of four women and two men after a mobile phone video emerged of the six singing and dancing at a wedding in a remote village in Kohistan.
According to allegations levelled by Mohammad Afzal, a relative of the women, the four women seen in the video and another woman had been killed by their relatives in the village of Pales.
Speaking to media representatives from Kohistan, rights activist Farzana Bari said that four of the women were alive.
Bari is a member of the fact-finding delegation sent to the northwestern region in the case.
However, Bari said that it would not be possible to produce the women before the court on Thursday.
Bari said she had personally met at least two of the women who she said were well. She further said that their bodies bore no marks of physical torture.
The activist said that the team had also recorded a video of the women.
Mohammad Afzal reiterates claim
However, Afzal, a brother of one of the men in the video, reiterated that the women had been killed.
Speaking to media representatives outside the Supreme Court, Afzal again said that the women had been killed and their throats had been slit.
He said the women were killed on May 30 on the orders of a cleric who led a 40 to 50-member tribal jirga.
Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s comments in SC
The chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province told the court that activists confirmed that at least two of the women were alive, but that their families would not allow them to travel in person to the court in Islamabad.
“Two of the girls have been traced. Human Rights activist Farzana Bari met them. She has told me the girls have been identified,” said chief secretary Ghulam Dastgir Khan.
Bari was now en route back to Islamabad by helicopter with a video showing the two women to prove that they are safe, he added.
Another human rights activist, Fauzia Saeed, confirmed the details.
“We met one girl. She was identified because we carried pictures of the girls. We met another who we could not identify but people in the area said she is among the women in the video,” she told a private television channel.
CJ says ready to provide troops
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has said he was ready to send in the army unless he had a clear report on all the women.
“You have half an hour to give us a report, otherwise we will send one of our own officers, then you should be ready to face the consequences,” he said.
“We are even ready to provide you troops,” he added. “Delay will not help the operation. Either the girls will escape or be killed.”