In a recent incident of honour killing on June 28, a newlywed couple in Pakistan was tied up and decapitated by the bride’s family for marrying against their wishes. The couple, identified as Muawia Bibi (18 years old) and Sajjad Ahmed (26 years old), got married at a Pakistani court ten days before their demise against the wishes of the bride’s family. On Thursday, Bibi’s father and uncles told the couple that they had finally accepted their union and were willing to bless them if they visited the family in Satrah, a village in Punjab province.
According to Mohammad Ahsanullah, a Punjab Police official, it is during this staged reconciliatory visit that both Ahmed and Bibi were tied up and decapitated. Despite there being no outside witnesses, members of Bibi’s family turned themselves in to the police and are currently in a jail in Sialkot.
Ahsanullah explained that such honour killings often stem from tribal traditions practiced in rural areas of Pakistan and India. Human rights activists say bystanders and police officials usually ignore these situations as they are considered to be family matters. United Nations figures suggest approximately 5,000 women are killed by family members under similar circumstances each year but women’s advocacy groups insist that the actual death toll is much higher. They claim authorities do not know of the actual figures because this common crime is grossly underreported. According to the Pakistan human rights commission, 869 women were murdered in honour killings in 2013 alone.