Pakistan girl denies flogging, but rallies condemn Taliban (Lead)April 6th, 2009 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, April 6 (IANS) The girl who was reportedly whipped by the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley has denied the incident even as a rally was taken out in Karachi to condemn the public lashing. The Supreme Court Monday ordered a probe into the matter.
The girl was reportedly flogged by a Taliban cleric for “coming out of her house with another man who was not her husband”.
The girl’s statement before a magistrate was presented in the Supreme Court through Attorney General Latif Khosa. “The girl has denied the alleged flogging incident,” Geo TV reported. The lashing footage was telacast on many TV news channels worldwide.
The victim was not present during the hearing.
Senior officials, including the interior secretary and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) inspector general of police, appeared before the eight-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, which is hearing the Swat lashing case.
Chaudhry said that “investigations be conducted” into the incident.
A two-minute video showed the 17-year-old, burqa-clad girl screaming while being whipped by Taliban fighters.
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 reported.
The newspaper said it received the video through Samar Minallah, a Pashtoon documentary maker.
After 34 lashes the punishment stopped and the wailing girl was led into a stone building.
The MQM Sunday condemned the flogging of the girl and its women wing staged a rally near Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum in Karachi, the Nation newspaper reported.
MQM activists wore black armbands and hung effigies of Taliban.
The Minhajul Quran Women League (MQWL) Saturday staged a demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club to condemn the flogging and demanded strict action against those involved in the incident, the News International reported.
Addressing the protesters, MQWL chief Fatima Mashadi said those who flogged the girl were not following Islam and they had brought a bad name to the religion and the country.
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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