Documentary highlights brutal honor killing case in Pakistan

VICE News host Hani Taha. (screen grab)

In a new documentary short, VICE News host Hani Taha travels to Pakistan to investigate the “Kohistan killings,” one of the country’s most horrific and notorious honor killing cases. In 2012, after video footage surfaced of a group of four young sisters and two brothers singing and dancing to music, village elders who saw this as a violation of strict tribal customs reportedly ordered those in the video, and their families, be killed for their dishonorable behavior.

The four young women in the video were allegedly tortured and killed by members of their own family, and while the two brothers in the video went into hiding, three of their brothers were murdered by the girls’ family in a revenge attack. In the documentary, Taha speaks with a human rights activist and investigative journalist who are trying to uncover what really happened in this case, and manages an interview with the village elder who allegedly ordered the killings — even though he denies he did, and says the girls are still alive.

A screen grab shows four women suspected

The four women are seen clapping and singing in the video, which allegedly resulted in their deaths at the hands of family members. (Screen grab/Youtube)

She also discusses what happened with Afzal Kohistani, a surviving brother of the murdered men, who is now hoping to find justice. “I’ve tried to do everything to avenge my brother’s deaths” he tells her. “But I’m not in a position to do much. I just want them to get punished. Future generations should not have to suffer like this.”

The documentary was produced by Sharmeen-Obaid Chinoy, who became the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award for Saving Face, a film about acid attacks on women in Pakistan, and was nominated in this year’s Oscar for Best Documentary short for A Girl in the River, which follows the life of an 18-year-old girl who is a survivor of an honor killing attempt. “Very often, we see women in my part of the world as victims,” Chinoy told the Women in the World Summit in New York City in 2015. “I hope by putting my camera out there, I am creating heroes in my part of the world for the next generation. I need my daughters to have heroes in Pakistan.”

Read the full story and watch the documentary at VICE NEWS.


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