Couple Who Eloped Allegedly Killed by Relatives in Pakistan ‘Honor Killings’

KARACHI, PAKISTAN Two teenagers were electrocuted by their own families in Pakistan after eloping, police say.

The so-called "honor killings" have led to the arrest of both victims' fathers and at least two other relatives who carried out the judgment of a jirga, a local court that is convened to settle local disputes, particularly those related to women. Such tribal councils are illegal but are often honored by local officials.

Bakhtja, 15, and her boyfriend Waliur Rehman, 17, ran away August 14 because their families did not approve of their relationship, said Aman Marwat, a police official at Shah Latif town in the southern port city of Karachi.

"They loved each other and had eloped due to fear of their families," Marwat told VOA Deewa. "The families promised them a consented marriage if they come back home. Both returned home on August 15. The same day, following the approval of the tribal council, both the boy and girl were killed with electric shocks."

News of their deaths did not emerge until an informant recently told police. A local court on Wednesday ordered exhumation of their bodies, which reportedly had been buried in secret.

The couple originally belonged to the tribal region of Mohmand agency along the Afghan border, where Pakistan's army has fought a Taliban insurgency over the past decade.

Hundreds of women are killed every year in Pakistan, often by their own relatives, for going against their families' wishes in matters of love and marriage. Amid a trend toward conservatism, the local Aurat Foundation has reported a 70 percent increase in honor killings in the past year.

"Laws are in place against such crimes committed in the name of honor, but they do not get implemented," Zehra Yusuf, a member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told VOA Urdu. She blamed "conservative customs and norms of society and widespread ignorance for such crimes."

Source: Voice of America