Two sisters were shot dead a few days ago in an honour killing in the Punjab village of Noor Shah, Pakistan by their brother. Fauzia, 23, and Surayya, 21, were shot in their beds by Mohammad Asif, because he “doubted their characters and was against their lifestyle”. He then fled the small farming village.
The girls’ distraught father, 56-year-old Muhammad Ashraf, flew home, paralysed by grief and shock. He has lived in the United Arab Emirates for decades, where he drives a taxi. More after the cut…
Police named the suspect as Muhammad Asif, saying he has been on the run since Tuesday night, after murdering his sisters Fozia Bibi, 22, and Suriya Bibi, 24, in the eastern province of Punjab.
“Muhammad Asif killed his two sisters last night over their character and lifestyle, which he didn’t like,” police officer Tariq Mehmood said. “Fozia was shot in her chest and Suriya was shot in her waist.”
Police said neighbours and relatives had told them the deaths were honour killings, over Asif’s suspicions that his sisters were having affairs. Police said Asif was jailed after having murdered his mother four or five years ago, but set free after being pardoned by his family, but declined to provide details.
Killing in the name of honour is common in the traditional parts of Pakistan. Law Minister Pervez Rashid told the national assembly recently that 933 people died in honour killings over the past two years. The majority of the reported cases were in Sindh province. But Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission put the figure at around 1,000 a year, and in reality it is much higher, as many cases are never reported. Procedural legal flaws are also blamed for the lack of convictions.
“Many of the crimes carried out by relatives are never prosecuted,” said human rights activist and legal expert in the city of Mardan, Akbar Hoti.
The Sahiwal district police officer investigating the killing of the two sisters, Muhammad Baqar Raza, shared that view.
“The police do their job well, but the criminals get released from the courts because of the procedural laws,” he said.