Pakistani woman killed for ‘helping friend elope’

May 6, 2016 12:40 pm

Members of the tribal council that sentenced the young woman to be killed. Photo / AFP

A young woman was drugged and strangled and then her body was set ablaze because she helped her friend elope, police said overnight, announcing the arrest of 14 people in a twist on the grim practice of “honour killings”.
The victim, believed to be around 20 years old, was killed then burned in a Suzuki van on the orders of the village jirga (council) in Makol in northwest on April 29, district police chief Khurram Rasheed told AFP.
“Police have arrested 13 members of the jirga who ordered the murder of the girl,” Rasheed said.
The victim’s mother was also arrested, he said, because she supported the jirga’s decision.
A local anti-terrorism court on Thursday remanded the 14 suspects into police custody for two weeks on murder and terrorism charges.

Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year on the pretext of defending family “honour”, but it is rare to hear of those who facilitate elopements being killed as well.The owner of the van was also a member of the jirga. His van was burned because the eloping woman – who is believed to be safely in hiding – travelled in it when she ran away.
Activist Samar Minallah such jirgas can make such decisions to teach a lesson to other women in the community.
“Until and unless you take strong action against these jirga members and their supporters in the community, no law can help to stop the brutal killing of women for honour,” she told AFP.
Pakistan amended its criminal code in 2005 to prevent men who kill female relatives escaping punishment by pardoning themselves as an “heir” of the victim.
But it is left to a judge’s discretion to decide whether to impose a prison sentence when other relatives of the victim forgive the killer – a loophole which critics say remains exploited.
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness – a film telling the story of a rare survivor of an attempted honour killing – won the Academy Award for best documentary short in February.
Amid publicity for the film, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to eradicate the “evil” of honour killings but no fresh legislation has been tabled since then.
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