Family of brother killed in Kohistan Video violence hold protest demonstration

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Jan 9, 2013.

Islamabad – The family of three Kohistani victims of violence protested in front of the National Press Club in Islamabad on Tuesday, seeking justice for its slain family members.

On January 3, 2012, three of Afzal Khan’s brothers were murdered in Kohistan. Their crime: they were related to the two men who appeared in a 2010 video dancing as five women sat and clapped at a wedding ceremony.

The Kohistan video, which led to death sentences from the local jirga for the men and women who were seen in the video, became national news in 2012 after rumors spread that the women had been mercilessly slaughtered by the tribal elders.

Khan, who is the brother (?) of the men in the video, spoke about it to the media, then, and the Supreme Court took a suo moto notice of the alleged murders.

Afzal Khan and his relatives still claim that the girls were murdered immediately. But an investigation team, comprised of human rights activists, sent to Kohistan by the Supreme Court in 2012, returned with the news that the girls were alive. The case was closed thereafter.

The two men in the video were on the run, in the meanwhile.

In the first week of the New Year, Khan’s family found them at the receiving end of tribal vengeance again. Three of his brothers were murdered by a cousin, on the pretext that the jirga’s decision of killing the two men in the video must be held somehow. The police has since arrested the local cleric Maulvi Javed and four suspects on the charges of murdering the three brothers, according to media reports.

Khan also petitioned the Supreme Court on January 5 to reopen the Kohistan video scandal case.

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