The public lashing of a 17-year-old girl named Chand in Pakistan’s Swat Valley became the catalyst for countrywide protests on Saturday after a video of the flogging made its way around the Internet. A spokesman for the local Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the video was fake and that the actual incident happened outside of Swat but defended the punishment as just.

The Hindu:

In Lahore and Karachi, and in Peshawar too, a large number of people turned out to protest the flogging, describing it as a shame on Pakistan, on Islam and on Pashtuns. A day after it first surfaced on television screens, it was still being shown repeatedly by all television channels.

Apparently taken aback by the revulsion from all corners of the country, the Swat Taliban, who confirmed the flogging on Friday, are now saying the incident seen in the video took place outside Swat. Swat Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan called a press conference where he denounced the video as a conspiracy by “foreign forces” to malign the Taliban and Pakistan. For the first time, he allowed cameras to show his face.

He vowed that the Taliban would hunt down and punish those who had filmed the incident and distributed it “at the behest of some foreign NGOs”.

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig