Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pakistan Honor Killing of Young Couple and Their Baby

In the West, the worst thing that can happen to a couple that marries without the approval of their families is being disowned. It does happen, someone marries outside their religion or class and the family breaks ties with that person.  It's sad, but there is always the hope that eventually they will patch things up when the kids start arriving.  But in Pakistan, the couple runs the risk of being killed. This is what happened to a young couple in Fauji Colony in Rawalpindi. A man, 27,  and his young wife, 24, were allegedly strangled by the woman's family because they had eloped 18 months ago.  Both  families were against the marriage, but the bride's family was exceedingly so. What's particularly heinous about this honor killing was that they also strangled the couple's 7-month-old daughter. According to Inspector Malik Arshad,

“It is suspected the couple was sedated and then strangulated. However, the real circumstances would be determined by postmortem and forensic tests.” 
The woman’s parents lodged a case with Miana Gondal police station of Mandi Bahauddin against the man. But the case was withdrawn as settled after the couple stated to the area magistrate that they had a legal marriage and presented the nikahnama.

Apparently one of the brothers had tracked them down about 6 weeks ago to their new house, and pretended he wanted to reconcile, but all the while was plotting his revenge, along with several uncles. Allah Ditta, the brother of the murdered husband, was the one who found the family when he went to visit them on Sunday afternoon.  Apparently, the woman's brother had actually been staying with the family for a few days before he killed them.

“Tea cups and other pots lay scattered around the bodies as if the victims had taken tea sitting on the floor. Some pieces of rope, papers – one of which was nikahnama – also were found at the crime scene when the police arrived there,” investigating officer Malik Arshad said.
There were no signs of any struggle or resistance by the victims, he said.
In his view, the tea might have contained sedatives and the victims strangulated later.
“Laboratory tests would determine the facts, however. Police collected forensic evidence like the tea cups, the pieces of rope and the nikahnama from the crime scene as case property.” 
According to Allah Ditta:

 “Accompanied by my brother-in-law, I had visited his (brother’s) house only the previous evening. Everything looked normal. The woman’s brother was there and chatted with me, without betraying any evil intentions."
“My brother had been facing life threats from the uncles of his wife. Although the case had been settled by the court of magistrate, they used to threaten him.”
No mention of whether they were both Muslim or the wife was Hindu or Christian, and why the families were so against the marriage. But if they eloped, it was a love marriage and not arranged, so that could have fueled the anger.

Unfathomable how honor can trump humanity.

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