Video of Taliban flogging girl a fake: Investigators

April 19th, 2009 - 4:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 19 (IANS) The video footage of a girl being flogged by Taliban militants in Pakistan’s restive Swat valley is a fake, a five-member team of investigators has said in its final report.
Interior Secretary Kamal Shah said: “It (the probe team) has completed its investigation and handed over a report to me.”

The report said the video footage was “false and fake” and no such incident had taken place, Shah was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

Shah was speaking at a press conference Friday at the Commissioner’s House in Saidu Sharif in Swat district.

He said the probe team, headed by the Malakand deputy inspector general of police, had been formed after the Supreme Court chief took a suo motu notice of the incident.

The report would be submitted before an eight-member bench of the Supreme Court during the next hearing, he said, adding the team had recorded statements of “both the girl and the man who were allegedly flogged and they had disowned the video tape”.

The dangers of imposing Sharia laws in Pakistan’s restive Swat Valley were brought into sharp focus earlier this month with the airing of a two-minute video showing the 17-year-old screaming, burqa-clad girl being whipped by Taliban fighters for coming “out of her house with another guy who was not her husband”.

The grainy video, shot on a mobile phone, showed the girl face down on the ground. Two men held her arms and feet while a third, a black-turbaned fighter with a flowing beard, whipped her repeatedly, London’s Guardian newspaper had reported.

The newspaper said it received the video through Samar Minallah, a Pashtun documentary maker.

After 34 lashes the punishment stopped and the wailing girl was led into a stone building.

The NWFP government ceded authority to the Taliban under a peace deal, giving the militants a free hand to impose their puritan Islamic rule on the around 600,000 people of Swat and its neighbouring districts.

The peace accord signed with pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Sufi Mohammad includes measures to establish Islamic courts, a ban on music, expulsion of prostitutes and pimps from the area, closure of businesses during prayer times, and a campaign against what they call obscenity.

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