ISLAMABAD The Chief Justice of Pakistan ordered governmentofficials on Monday to submit a detailed report within 15 days over thepublic flogging of a veiled woman, an incident that incensed the nation.
ChiefJustice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry gave the directive as eight judgesopened a hearing into the case, apparently that of a 17-year-old girlwho was caught on an amateur video being whipped face down on theground.
Government and regional officials from North WestFrontier Province (NWFP) should 'submit report on a fortnightly basisto the registrar of this court,' the top judge said in his order,written in English.
'The matter requires a detailed probe tolocate place of incident, application of law for those involved and ifsentence of flogging was awarded lawfully or unlawfully,' he added.
Thedate of the flogging, the location and the details of the woman'salleged crime have been confused but the footage showed two men pinningher down while a bearded man in a turban flogged her 34 times with awhip.
Government officials, whom Chaudhry ordered to bring thewoman before court Monday, instead submitted a written statement theysaid they recorded from her and her husband denying that they wereflogged.
The woman, named in the statement as Chand Bibi, expressed unwillingness to appear before court in the presence of media.
Thedetails of her alleged crime were confused, but residents of KalaKilley village in the Swat valley said the woman was accused of illicitrelations with an electrician and forced to marry him.
'Possibilitycannot be ruled out that a fake TV material or a video had beenprepared with an ulterior motive to malign people of Swat,' saidChaudhry.
'If there is any unlawful order, or provisions ofconstitution dealing with dignity of human beings are violated, actionis required to be taken,' he said.
The judges in court Monday strongly criticised government officials for dealing with 'deteriorating' law and order.
'We are not satisfied by your job of sitting in offices and making statements,' the chief justice said.
Localgovernment officials and residents told AFP last week the video wasfilmed on January 3, some weeks before the government signed acontroversial deal with a pro-Taliban cleric to allow sharia law inSwat.
ISLAMABAD Proceedings into the Swat flogging case are underway at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, DawnNews reported.
An eight-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was earlier constituted to investigate the incident.
The Chief Justice had summoned top government officials and had ordered the police to produce the victim on Monday.
He has also directed the federal interior secretary Kamal Shah in addition to the NWFP chief secretary and inspector general of police to personally appear before the court on Monday.
The federal interior secretary is to produce the flogging victim before the court in compliance with the chief justices order.
The apex court reacted to the video which showed militants in Swat publicly flogging a 17-year-old girl after accusing her of adultery . However, the date and venue of the incident remain unclear.