Dubai: Two Pakistani teenage girls have been shot dead over a mobile phone video in a remote backward North and South Waziristan tribal region, which was once the stronghold of Taliban.
According to media reports, family member killed the girls in what is believed to be yet another case of ‘honour killing’ earlier this week after a short mobile video of them with a young man surfaced on social media.
The Razmak police station in North Waziristan on Friday registered a First Information Report (FIR) of the incident with the state as the complainant and started an investigation reported the Dawn news.
Father and brother arrested
Accordin to another report, one of the girls were allegedly shot dead by her father while the other was killed by her brother. The two girls were killed on Thursday in a northwestern district near the Afghan border, where women often have few rights and are subjected to strict tribal codes that limit their movement outside of the home.
“Both men have confessed to killing them,” police official Mohammad Nawaz told a Pakistani television channel on Sunday. “The two men - one of whom was the father of the first victim and the other was the brother of the second, were both being held in custody pending trial,” he added.
Police said the victims were in their 20s and had appeared in a short video that was posted online that showed them being kissed by a man.
According to the FIR, the incident took place on May 14 around 2pm at Shaam Plain Garyom, a border village of North and South Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
“A confirmed report was received that two girls aged 16 and 18 were killed in the name of honour by their paternal cousin, whose name and address is not known,” reads the FIR registered on behalf of a station house officer.
Mobile phone video
It said the reason behind the killings was believed to be a video, which shows a young man recording himself with three young girls in a secluded area outdoors.
A senior police officer in Waziristan confirmed the incident and said that two of the three girls seen in the 52-second mobile clip have been killed. He said police were collecting information about the third girl and the man seen in the video.
According to the police official, the video in question was shot nearly a year ago and most probably went viral on social media a few weeks ago.
“As per the information received by police so far, the third girl and the boy are alive,” the officer said. He revealed that the families of the two victims reportedly moved to their native village Shakotai in South Waziristan after the incident for the burial of the bodies.
The area where the incident took place is far-flung and considered risky in terms of security, the police official said, adding that a police party had been dispatched to the area to investigate the case.
“The names of the females are still not known as their families shifted the bodies to South Waziristan. A police party along with the area tehsildar has already been directed to visit the area and submit a final report,” he said.
Saving the third girl in the video
“At the moment, our topmost priority is to secure the life of the third girl and the man before taking any action. “There is no mobile phone coverage in both Shakotai and Bargram area of South and North Waziristan,” a police official supervising the investigation said.
“In tribal tradition, there is no place for girls and men who defame their tribe in the society,” the official said, adding that the investigation of the case would be a big challenge for the newly introduced police as the acts in the video are “completely against the norms of the tribal society”.
The incident comes nearly eight years after the 2012 Kohistan video scandal, in which three women were killed for honour after a grainy video showing them singing and clapping while two boys danced had gone viral in the ultra-conservative and remote district of Kohistan.
What is 'honour killing'
Honour killing is the killing of a member of a family who is perceived to have brought dishonour upon family. Pressure group Human Rights Watch says the most common reasons are that the victim refuses refused to enter into an arranged marriage, becomes victim of a sexual assault or rape, has sexual relations outside marriage. In remote and backward areas of Pakistan, mainly girls become victim of ‘honour’ killing even due to trivial reasons such as dressing in a way deemed inappropriate or displaying behaviour seen as disobedient or have any sort of relation with men.