A teenaged couple in Karachi, Pakistan are allegedly victims of honor killings.
According to officials who exhumed their bodies, Bakht Taj, 15, and her boyfriend Rehman, 17, were likely electrocuted.
Honor killings are defined as murders in which a person kills a relative (quite often a woman) for having seemingly brought dishonor to the family or the community they belong to.
In 2016, Pakistan’s independent Human Rights Commission revealed that honor killings in the nation was on the rise. It noted that 1,100 women in the country were killed in 2015 due to these reasons. The report stated that in 2014, 1,000 women had been victims of honor killings. In 2013, 869 women fell victim.
In 2016, the murder of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch made international news. She had been strangled by her brother, Waseem Azeem. He was reportedly upset with her provocative media presence and posts.
According to the not for profit organization called Honor Based Violence Awareness Network, nearly 5,000 people die every year due to honor killings. The problem is also prevalent in India. In 2014, there had been 28 honor killings in the nation. This number considerably increased to 251 in 2015.
According to details that have emerged in the media, Bakht Taj, daughter of Hikmat Khan, had allegedly attempted to elope with 17-year-old Rehman in August 2017. However, the plan was foiled when her parents found her mobile sim card that had been registered in Rehman’s name and tracked her down. However, in the beginning it seemed that a resolution would be reached. An agreement was reportedly struck between the two families to arrange a marriage between the two teens. However, a conservative member of the tribe, Sartaj Khan alias Shagalai, who is considered an elder, raised objections. He said that the teenagers had to be killed in order to prevent such acts from taking place and also in order to protect the honor of the tribe. The families belonged to Pashtun Safi tribe.
At first, the girl disappeared and the next day, Rehman was dead too. District police head Rao Anwaar said that he had been notified of the killings through an unnamed source. According to authorities, Afzal along with his brother Meer Afzal, Hikmat and another of Bakht’s uncle, Zar Khattab have been arrested. They have reportedly confessed to the crime as well. Some of the members of the tribe’s council have gone into hiding. The police are still awaiting results from the autopsy.
Our assessment is that honor killings are a societal evil and must be eradicated. Currently data indicates that this troubling trend is on the rise and that must be countered. Apart from ensuring swift justice, there needs to be widescale campaigns launched aimed at educating the public. Simply put, there is no honor in murder.