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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020
Two teenage girls, aged 16 and 18, were shot by their own family members in an 'honour-killing' in a rural Pakistani village. Pictured: Pakistani human rights activists shouting slogans during a protest in Karachi over honour killing in 2008

Two teenage girls have become victims of so-called "honour killings" in Pakistan after a video of them with a young man appeared on social media.

The girls, aged 16 and 18, were murdered by family members last week in the tribal village of Shawm Plain Garyom, on the border between North and South Waziristan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Police told BBC Urdu two men were arrested on Sunday in relation to the case. The two men were the father of one of the victims and the brother of the other victim.

Officials reportedly told a Pakistani news channel that both men confessed to killing the teenagers, and are currently being held in custody awaiting trial.

The video believed to have led to the killings showed a young man recording himself with three young girls in a secluded area outdoors. The young man is reportedly seen kissing two of the women on the lips in the footage.

A senior police officer in Waziristan told local newspaper Dawn the video was filmed almost a year ago and likely went viral on social media just a few weeks ago.

He said: “At the moment, our topmost priority is to secure the life of the third girl and the man before taking any action.

“As per the information received by police so far, the third girl and the boy are alive.”

According to Gulf News, the families of the victims, whose names are not known, moved to their native village of Shakotai in South Waziristan to bury the bodies. A police party has been dispatched to the area to investigate the incident.

Pakistan passed an anti-honour killing law in 2016 after the murder of Qandeel Baloch, a model, sparked public protests across the country. The new law imposed harsher punishments on those carrying out the killings.

However, activists believe about 1,000 such murders are still being carried out across Pakistan annually.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) strongly condemned the killings and said in a statement: “Despite the passage of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2016, there is a little evidence to suggest that the incidence and acceptance of ‘honour’ crimes has abated.

“Antiquated – and lethal – notions that ‘honour’ resides in women’s bodies and actions still prevail across Pakistan, and it will take far more than laws to effect a change when perpetrators of ‘honour’ crimes continue to act with impunity.

“The patriarchy that upholds casual sexism is the same patriarchy that is used to justify, endorse and perpetrate ‘honour’ killings. Neither is acceptable,” added the HRCP.

The Women Democratic Front, a feminist political group in Pakistan, called on the government to enact more stringent laws against the acts.

“A non-consensual and inappropriate video of the young women has been circulating online for a few days, which is believed to have been the reason of their violent murder. Another girl, who was also seen in the video, is currently missing,” said Mumtaz Tajik, who leads the group.

“We demand that the men involved in inciting violence, as well as those who leaked a private video despite knowing the sensitivities, should be taken into account. Domestic violence still largely remains an acceptable norm in our society, where women’s bodies and lives are considered property of the men of the family.”