Swat flogging victim says incident never took place

The teenager who was filmed being flogged by the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat valley has denied that the incident ever occurred in a statement made to Government officials, media reports said on Monday.

Chand Bibi, the 17-year-old girl who was shown being held down by three men while a fourth flogged her, reportedly told the judge and Divisional Commissioner Syed Mohammad Javed on Sunday that such an incident had never occurred.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Supreme Court on Monday rapped the police and several senior officials, including Interior Secretary Kamal Shah, over their handling of the case. An eight-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, who took suo moto notice of the incident, directed the Interior Secretary and the Chief Secretary and police chief of the NWFP to prepare detailed reports every fortnight before adjourning the matter.

Chaudhary expressed displeasure at the police for not properly preparing a First Information Report on the issue.

NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told The News that Chand Bibi had made a statement to the two officials who visited her village of Kala Killay in Kabal sub-division on Sunday.

Quoting the divisional commissioner, Hussain said the girl made it clear that she was married to one Adalat Khan. She denied reports that both of them were flogged by the Taliban as punishment for having "illicit relations" and then forcibly married.

The man who filmed the Taliban flogging Chand Bibi, Shaukat, said that the incident occurred two weeks ago. He told Dawn News that the treatment meted out to the girl was actually a "punishment" for her refusing a marriage proposal from a militant.

The man who proposed to marry Chand Bibi joined the Taliban after the rejection and this was how he took revenge on the girl, Shaukat said.

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