Islamabad: Five Pakistani girls who were reportedly killed on the orders of a tribal council for dancing and clapping with two young men in the northwest tribal region are still alive, a minister has said.
The controversy emerged after a video surfaced showing the five girls dancing at a private gathering in Beech Bela village of Kohistan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
"Ample evidence, collected by a fact-finding mission of the provincial government, is available, on the basis of which it has been established that all the five girls are alive and safe," provincial Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain was quoted as saying by Dawn News.
He said the evidence established that neither any jirga (tribal assembly) had taken place nor a religious decree issued by any cleric to kill the girls.
Hussain said the team comprising an additional sessions judge appointed by the Supreme Court and MP Bushra Gohar visited Beech Bela over the weekend to find out the whereabouts of the girls.
The team met four of the girls -- Sareen Jan, Begum Jan, Aamna and Shaheen -- and interviewed them.
The fifth girl, Bazgha, could not be reached but the team spoke with her parents, he said.
"All those present on the occasion gave evidence in front of the official team that all the five girls were alive and safe," Hussain said.
Such misleading information about the killing defamed the province, Pakhtun culture and the traditional institution of the jirga, he said.
He said the provincial government would take legal action against the people responsible for spreading rumours about the murder.