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Pak court asks man to stand in freezing pond

A tribal court ordered Khuda Bakhsh to stand neck-deep in a freezing pond for 10 minutes to prove his son's innocence.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 13:25 IST

A rural Pakistan tribal council ordered a man to stand neck-deep in a freezing pond for 10 minutes to "prove" his son innocent of a robbery charge, but he failed and paid a fine, an official said on Friday.

Khuda Bakhsh—his arms and legs bound with rope—was also told to move 25 metres though the pond in the eastern province of Punjab's Lakha village.

However, Bakhsh, 45, held out for only two minutes and the family was fined 39,000 rupees ($650), said village official Waqar Aziz, confirming a report in a Pakistan paper called The News. His son is 25.

Under tribal rules, elders can order a person accused of committing minor crimes to walk on hot coals or through cold water.

Anyone staying in the water for the required time or crossing the coals without injury is acquitted.

There have been success stories, but most fail. The centuries-old rules are still applied in deeply conservative rural areas.

However, authorities consider the practice illegal, and Aziz said local officials were gathering evidence to take action against the tribal council.

Aziz said a local resident had accused Bakhsh's son of stealing a tape recorder. Father and son denied the charge.

First Published: Feb 16, 2007 13:25 IST