The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday took suo moto notice of the recently emerged video scandal and the death decree issued to seven persons by a Jirga of Kohistan.
He instructed the attorney general to find out from Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa about the five girls, who were sentenced to death by the local clerics over dancing in a wedding ceremony along with two men, and inform the court. He also directed him produce all the girls and boys in the court if they are alive.
In his remarks, the CJP said that the court has repeatedly declared that decisions issued by private jirgas (tribal courts) are illegal and unconstitutional.
The apex court also issued notices to Commissioner Hazara division, DPO Kohistan and DIG Hazara to appear before the court on June 6.
Police told media persons on Monday that clerics sentenced five women and two men to death after mobile phone footage emerged of them dancing at a village wedding in the mountains of Kohistan district. The men and women had allegedly danced and sung together in Gada village, in defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at weddings.
Mohammad Afzal, brother of the accused men, made public the entire episode and sought support to protect his brothers, who fled the village after being declared perverted by local elders.
Conflicting reports about the murder of the accused women on May 30 were also making the rounds in media.
The religious scholars and police in District Kohistan on Saturday termed the video scandal as baseless and told that no death decree was issued in the case. However, the brother of the accused men has sought help from the government.
DSP Palas completed initial investigation and told that both the tribes were unaware of the chaos created by the media. There was neither any evidence of the victims’ confinement nor of any death decree issuance by the Jirga.
District Police Officer (DPO) Kohistan Abdul Majeed Afridi said it appeared to be a case of tribal rivalry and an attempt to defame a family. He said the video was recorded three years ago and then edited in an attempt to implicate the party goers.
He told reporters that the matter about the decree issuance was concocted and was aimed at destroying the peaceful environment in the district.
The Interior Minister said that a judicial commission would conduct investigation into the incident.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Social Welfare Sattar Ayaz talking to media also denied the report, saying the women who danced at the wedding ceremony were not killed.