The Other Side of Pakistan: Honour Killings, Authorities & a VICE Documentary.

On November 26th VICE Asia released a report named “Honor Killings In Pakistan: The Kohistan Case”.  This report revolved around the murder of five women after a video was released on May 2012 of all of them singing during a wedding while two men reportedly danced. The women were later killed by their own family members in a case of honor killing after a tribal jirga (meeting) was held. Shortly afterwards where it was decided that the participants as well as the boy who filmed the video should be killed.

Afzal Kohistani

Afzal Kohistani was the elder brother of the two boys which were dancing in the video, He reportedly attempted to prevent the sentence from being carried out. When that failed, he tried to go to the media and the authorities in order to prove that the murder had happened. Soon after, three of Afzal’s brothers were murdered in January 2013. In January 2014 six men was convicted out of which one was sentenced and others were sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment.  In january 2017, the peshawar High court acquitted all the six men involved in the murder.

Peshawar High court judgement can be read in the link.

“In view of what has been discussed above, We, accept this criminal Appeal No.14- A/2014 filed by accused/ appellants Mukhtasir and 5 others, as a result whereof, conviction and sentence recorded by the learned trial court vide judgment dated 30.01.2014 is set aside and the appellants are ordered to be acquitted of the charges in case FIR No.02 dated 04.01.2013, under sections 302/324/109/148/149 P.P.C., at Police Station, Palas, Kohistan. They shall be released forthwith if not required in any other case.”

What is even more surprising is that as per Dr. Farzana Bari, Pakistanis feminist and human rights activist– there were two fact finding missions which were launched to find the girls in the video. The first mission stumbled upon two imposters who the village jirga presented it as the girls in the video. In the second fact finding mission, the Pakistani political establishment was actively involved in protecting the murderers.

Afzal Kohistani known as the “honor killing whistle blower” by the western media was shot dead on 6th march 2019. Afzal had been constantly on the run, moving from one town to the next as admitted by VICE asia themselves. It is believed that it is due to the irresponsibility and careless journalism of VICE which lead to Afzal being located and killed. The video can be watched here.

If you go through the VICE report on this incident and their interview with Afzal Kohistani , you will notice that VICE had taken absolutely no steps to ensure Afzal’s safety. Nor was any attempt made to ensure that the secrecy of his location was mentioned. VICE in their own admittance in that very video was aware of the fact that his life was at risk and he was on the run.

If you skip the video to timestamp 4:54 and if you later skip the video to 5:02 you will notice that VICE has made no attempt to hide his location. Not only will it be clear for any one living in that area which city/town that is. Later on 5:02 they have made it a lot easier for any assailant to track Afzal and the hotel that he stays in. VICE even showed the exact place where he stays. On March 6th 2019, 4 months after the video was released Afzal was tracked and killed. He was shot five times on a busy road and died on the spot.

Not only has VICE not even come up with any apology or regret, they have made no further attempt to take corrective actions. In a normal world VICE would have been barred from conducting any further investigative journalism until those responsible for this were taken to task for sheer incompetence. This is basically the white saviour complex of going to a location covering a difficult and complex case then going back to their comfortable lives in the west while the poor whistle blowers and activists in these third world countries pay the price for their irresponsibility and incompetence.

Angry reaction of Pakistani citizens:

Article by The Watcher

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