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Pakistani girl denies flogging
[April 06, 2009]

Pakistani girl denies flogging

ISLAMABAD, Apr 07, 2009 (Arab News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The girl who was reportedly whipped by the Taleban 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 yesterday ordered a probe into the matter. The girl was reportedly flogged by a Taleban 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 telecast 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.

Chaudhry ordered government officials yesterday to submit a detailed report within 15 days over the public flogging of a veiled girl, an incident that incensed the nation. Government and regional officials should "submit report on a fortnightly basis to the registrar of this court," the top judge said in his order, written in English.

"The matter requires a detailed probe to locate place of incident, application of law for those involved and if sentence of flogging was awarded lawfully or unlawfully," he added.

Government officials, whom Chaudhry ordered to bring the girl before court yesterday, instead submitted a written statement they said they recorded from her and her husband denying that they were flogged.

"Possibility cannot be ruled out that a fake TV material or a video had been prepared with an ulterior motive to malign people of Swat," said Chaudhry.

"If there is any unlawful order, or provisions of constitution dealing with dignity of human beings are violated, action is required to be taken," he said.

The judges in court yesterday strongly criticized government officials for dealing with "deteriorating" law and order. "We are not satisfied by your job of sitting in offices and making statements," the chief justice said.

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