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Pakistan clerics issue death decree over wedding video: police

Mobile phone clip emerges of the six dancing in a remote village

02 Gulf News

Islamabad Four women and two men have been sentenced to death in northern Pakistan for singing and dancing at a wedding, police said on Monday.

Clerics issued a decree after a mobile phone video emerged of the six enjoying themselves in a remote village in the mountainous district of Kohistan, 176 kilometres north of the capital Islamabad.

“The local clerics issued a decree to kill all four women and two men shown in the video”
-District police officer Abdul Majid Afridi
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Pakistani authorities in the area said local clerics had ordered the punishment over allegations that the men and women danced and sang together in Gada village, in defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at weddings.

“The local clerics issued a decree to kill all four women and two men shown in the video,” district police officer Abdul Majid Afridi told AFP.

Men ran away

“It was decided that the men will be killed first, but they ran away so the women are safe for the moment. I have sent a team to rescue them and am waiting to hear some news,” he said, adding that the women had been confined to their homes.

Afridi said the events stemmed from a dispute between two tribes and that there was no evidence the men and women had been inter-mingling.

“All of them were shown separately in the video. I’ve seen the video taken on a cell phone myself, it shows four women singing and a man dancing in separate scenes and then another man sitting in a separate shot,” he said.

Video 'engineered to defame the tribe'

“This is tribal enmity. The video has been engineered to defame the tribe,” he added.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said at least 943 women and girls were murdered last year for allegedly defaming their family’s honour.

The statistics highlight the scale of violence suffered by many women in conservative Pakistan, where they are frequently treated as second-class citizens.