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Newlyweds decapitated by bride’s family in latest ‘honor killing’ in Pakistan

This time, both the husband and the wife were killed.

In May, there was worldwide outrage over the public stoning of a woman after she married a man against her family's wishes. The incident occurred in broad daylight in one of Pakistan's busiest cities, Lahore.

The latest "honor killing" took place in a village in the Punjab province. Muafia Bibi, 17, and her 30-year-old husband, Sajjad Ahmed, were allegedly killed with a butcher knife for marrying without the consent of their families. Five suspects have been arrested: Bibi's parents, grandfather and two uncles.

Meanwhile, in the same region, 20-year-old Sidra Shaukat was burned alive by a man whose proposal was rejected by her family. She died overnight, and 26-year-old Fayaz Aslam was arrested.

About 1,000 "honor killings" were reported in Pakistan in 2013, though the numbers are estimated to be much higher in reality. Not only do the crimes often go unreported, they also often go unpunished — according to Pakistani law, if the family of the victim forgives a suspect of a crime, that person can walk free. Because honor killings are usually committed by family members, this result isn't unusual.

Farzana Parveen was stoned to death by her family outside a court in Pakistan in late May, stirring international outrage. (Mohammad Tahir/Reuters)

Although rates of honor killings are especially high in Pakistan, where the majority of the population is Muslim, such deaths are also common in other countries, including Hindu-majority India.

In the Indian state of Haryana, a young couple was killed last year allegedly because they were planning to have a love marriage. While 20-year-old Nidhi Barak was beaten to death by her own family, police said, 23-year-old Dharmender Barak's hands and legs were chopped off and his head severed, according to a BBC report.


Swati Sharma is a digital editor for World and National Security and previously worked at the Boston Globe.

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