Punjab Police were on Saturday investigating the murder of two Pakistani-Spanish sisters as an “honour killing”, a brutal patriarchal practice that sees women put to death for bringing “shame” on their families.
The police spokesperson said Aneesa Abbas, 24, and Arooj Abbas, 21, were seeking separation from their husbands and were lured back from Spain to Gujrat where they were strangled and shot on Friday night.
“The family created a story to convince them to come to Pakistan for a couple of days,” said Gujrat police spokesperson Nauman Hassan.
“Preliminary investigations show this is a case of honour killing, but it is still developing and the investigation is ongoing,” he added.
Police also said the women were being “pressurised” by their spouses – who were also their cousins – to aid their emigration to Spain.
Seven members of the sisters’ family are currently wanted for murder.
The Spanish embassy in Pakistan could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
Swathes of Pakistani society still operate according to strict codes of “honour” that radically undermine women’s rights.
Entitlements to education, reproductive rights and the choice of who to wed are all curtailed by the practice.
There were more than 450 honour killings last year, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Men are sometimes targeted but the majority of victims are women and it is suspected that many cases go unreported.
In the past, women have been shot, stabbed, stoned, set alight and strangled for the charge of tainting their family’s “honour”.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz has taken notice of the murder of the two sisters in the jurisdiction of Guliana Police Station in Gujrat and sought a report from the inspector general (IG).
The CM directed to ensure expeditious arrest of the accused involved in the incident and stern action be taken against them according to the law.
He also directed the authorities concerned to ensure early provision of justice to the heirs of the victims at any cost.
IG Rao Sardar Ali Khan subsequently sought a report from Gujranwala regional police officer. The IG directed the Gujarat district police officer to inquire into every aspect of the incident and arrest the culprits as soon as possible. Rao Sardar said the Gujarat DPO should keep close contact with the affected family and no effort should be spared for immediate delivery of justice to the bereaved.