Six people in Pakistan ended up losing their lives because of a cellphone video recorded six years ago showing five young women laughing and clapping along as a young man danced.
“According to court filings and interviews with people who investigated it, the families confined the girls for weeks, threw boiling water and hot coals on them, then killed them and buried them somewhere in the Kohistan hills,” The Washington Post reported in a recent in-depth piece about honor killings in the predominantly Muslim nation of Pakistan.
The young man seen dancing was also reportedly murdered, as were nearly all the members of his family.
The video clip below shows the cellphone footage that locals found so offensive:
As of December 2016, the bodies of the young women had still not been found. Nor had justice been served in the case, though that was on the verge of possibly changing.
With the assistance of a regional lawyer, Afzal Kohistani — himself a victim of the murders and cover-up because his brothers had been killed and those responsible not brought to justice — managed to convince Pakistan’s supreme court to examine the case and order an extensive investigation
It was learned from the investigation that after the cellphone video went viral in 2010, a local Muslim cleric reportedly issued a religious order against everyone involved, claiming that they had dishonored the community. Because of the fundamentalist beliefs of the locals, the community — including the families of the victims — reportedly offered no resistance to this decree.
In fact, they impeded the investigation.
“Later, when investigators appeared, relatives and community leaders insisted that the girls were still alive and produced a second set of similar-looking girls to prove it.” The Post reported. “They even disfigured one girl’s thumbprints so she couldn’t be checked against the identity of the victim she was supposed to impersonate.”
And so, just like that, at least six people were wiped off the face of the earth for simply laughing, clapping and dancing. How sick is that?
“This has destroyed my family. The girls are dead, my brothers have been killed and nothing has been done to bring justice or protect us,” Kohistani said. “I know I will probably be killed, too, but it doesn’t matter. What happened is wrong, and it has to change.”
And it has, to a degree. In October, the Pakistani Parliament passed a law that closed a loophole that had allowed the perpetrators of honor killings to go free, according to The New York Times.
Previously the perpetrators were able to evade justice — even after being convicted — by convincing the victims’ families to “forgive” them. As of October, forgiveness alone will not change anything with regard to the sentence.
“Punishment is still not mandatory,” warned Benazir Jatoi, a lawyer who works on women’s rights. “Until there is more political will, I don’t think the lives of ordinary women threatened with honor violence will change.”
We can only hope and pray that all the victims eventually receive the justice they deserve. Regardless, pay close heed, because this is the true nature of radical Islam, which, despite claims otherwise from President Barack Obama, does exist.
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H/T The New American