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28 Jun, 2014 14:52

Pakistani couple's throats slit over marriage without parents’ consent

Pakistani couple's throats slit over marriage without parents’ consent

A young couple in Pakistan were tied up and had their throats slit by the girl’s parents after they married for love, police said on Saturday.

The 31-year old man and the 17-year old girl got married on June 18 in the Punjabi village of Satrah in eastern Pakistan’s Punjabi district, without the consent of their families.

The girl’s family was embarrassed by the marriage of their daughter, Muafia Hussein, to a man from a less important tribe, police said, according to Reuters.

The girl’s mother and father then decided to lure the couple to their house late on Thursday evening with the promise that they would give the marriage a family blessing.

“When the couple reached there, they tied them with ropes. He [the girl’s father] cut their throats,” said local police official Rana Zashid.

The family has been arrested, but that is no guarantee that they will receive justice.

Pakistani law means that even if a woman’s killer is convicted, her family is able to formally forgive the murderer. This means that families are able to nominate a family member to do the killing and then formally forgive them.

Earlier this week another young couple who had married for love were sentenced to death by a tribal council in Pakistan’s Muzaffargarh district.

Zia Kiyyani, the couple’s lawyer said the pair had appealed for police protection after their marriage, but hadn’t received any.

The 19-year old girl’s family was able to come to her husband’s family and take her back, swearing on the Koran that they would not harm her and would give them both a proper wedding ceremony.

The girl, Mehreen Bibi, started crying and shouting for her life and her husband’s because she was afraid that they would kill both of them.

Mehreen was right as she was shot by a member of her family when she got home. Her husband disappeared into hiding and her father registered the murder complaint so he could then formally forgive the killer. “That will end the case,” Kiyani said.

Cultural and religious traditions in many areas of Pakistan mean that “honor killings” of women who do things that are interpreted as immodest or unacceptable behavior are often overlooked by the authorities.

Unacceptable female behavior does not only include marrying a man of her own choice, but also includes singing, talking to man who is not a relative and even looking out of the window.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that 869 such killings were reported in the media last year, but the true figure is likely to be much higher as many cases are not reported and the government doesn’t collect any central statistics.

“Woman were callously killed in the name of honor when they went against their families wishes in any way, or even on the basis of suspicion that they did so,” a 2011 report by the Commission on honor killings concluded.

Although activists have praised parliament for passing laws to strengthen women’s protection against abuse, implementation of the law is a major problem.

“It’s great that we have new legislation but without the police and the courts reforming, changing their attitude to women, then nothing can change,” Sana Saleem of the Bolo Bhi – Speak UP woman’s right’s group, told the Telegraph two years ago.

It looks like the Islamabad government has no strategy to combat the killings and has got its hands tied dealing with a struggling economy and a deep routed Taliban insurgency.