Hailing from Kohistan, KPK, Afzal Kohistan rose to prominence in 2012 when he bravely went against the customs of his area to bring a case of “honor” killing to the national attention. In 2011, a video of his two brothers dancing to the songs and clapping of four women went viral in the village and came to the attention of a local Jirga. Afzal alleged that the four women in the video had been killed by their families on the orders of the Jirga and his brothers went into hiding to save their lives. When a fact finding mission was sent by Chief Justice to probe into the matter, two girls were shown to them with claims that they were the ones seen in the video. However, Afzal and one of the members of the mission, Dr. Farzana Bari contested these claims. Later, a report from the digital lab of United Kingdom proved that the girls presented to the commission only had 14 and 40 percent face resemblance with the girls seen in the video. It was only seven years later in 2018 that the Police finally registered an FIR of the alleged honor killing. In the meanwhile, this whistleblowing had also jeopardized the lives of Afzal and his family. Three of his older brothers were killed in 2013 and his house was burnt. Rest of the family members had to leave the village and hide in an unknown location to avoid a similar fate. Despite all these tribulations, Afzal refused to back down and continued fighting the case in the courts. He was also killed in March this year in Abbottabad.

Should we be worried about why a normal video of men, women singing, dancing has led to so many deaths? Should we hold the patriarchal state institutions; the police, local administration, courts, responsible for failing to dispense justice? Should we?