In a remote region of Northern Pakistan, young villagers learn that the
line between public and private can become fatally blurred
when digital media enters the room.

 



 

Synopsis

A mobile video captures four girls singing and clapping in a remote village in the Kohistan region of Northern Pakistan. In another frame, a boy is seen filming, while his brother dances. A year later the five-minute video goes viral in their village, bringing shame on its way to the local tribal jirga (council).

Afzal Kohistani, brother of the video boys, is forced into hiding with his family after he publicly accuses the jirga leader of ordering the killing of the girls. The Supreme Court sends a fact-finding commission to the remote village to investigate. Despite doubts that the girls are alive, the case is closed. Haseeb Khajawa, an Islamabad-based investigative journalist, picks up and pushes the story. Calls are made for justice for the Kohistan girls and an end to the jirga system. Embarrassed by the media attention, a court order is issued for the girls to be brought in front of a judge, dead or alive - a first such order in Pakistan legal history.

The Kohistan Video Scandal highlights the impunity that a parallel legal system provides to criminals who can hide behind traditions and religious practices. It is a kind of digital trial, bringing together evidence for a case which unveils a deepening conflict between constitutional and tribal justice in Pakistan. Digital technology is speeding up the pace of this conflict in many traditional societies, bringing with it tools which both invade privacy and inform the public, pitting old beliefs against modern views on human rights. The Kohistan Video case is an important step towards resolving this conflict in favour of the rights and freedoms of women and youth in Pakistan. Young urban and village men, such as Haseeb and Afzal, provide hopeful role models as they support and collaborate with women's rights activitsts to keep this case alive.

Writer/Director/Producer/Editor: Brishkay Ahmed
Writer/Producer: Elizabeth Sanchez
Versions: Feature (87 mins), Television (52 mins)   

We're proud to announce that we've had public screenings on:

International Human Rights Day 2016
Toronto
South Asian Women's Day 2016
Islamabad
International Women's Day 2017
Vancouver (Canada)

 

           

 

       

 

© Digital Warriors Production Inc. – 23 April 2014
digitalwarriors@shaw.ca
1-778-889-2359

The Kohistan Video Scandal • Digital Warriors Production Inc. • 2016