Pakistan Honor Killing: Police Arrest 13 For Burning A Girl Who Helped A Couple Elope [Video]

Pakistani Police have arrested 13 people suspected of burning a girl alive. The arrest was made on Thursday last week. The people arrested belonged to a tribal council in Pakistan.

The girl was left unconscious after being drugged. She was kept in a van which was set in fire outside Islamabad. The tribal council, known as jirga, conducted the “honor killing” as atonement for damaging the village’s reputation by letting the couple elope.

A jirga (occasionally jarga or jargah) is a traditional assembly of leaders that make decisions by consensus and according to the teachings of Islam. It predates modern-day written or fixed-laws, and is conducted to settle disputes among the Pashtun people, but to a lesser extent among other nearby groups that have been influenced by Pashtuns (historically known as Afghans)

The jirga “took her to an abandoned place outside the village and made her unconscious by injecting her with some drugs, then they seated the girl in a van in which the couple had escaped. They tied her hands to the seats and then poured petrol on her and the vehicle,” district police chief Saeed Wazir said.

He also went on to add that he had never seen such a “barbaric” attack in his whole life.

Police also reported that, the teenage girl, known only as Ambreen, was set alight in the van that was used to help her school friend flee the village to marry of her own free will. The couple seemed to have escaped, according to the Independent.

Some media have also reported that she might have been strangled before she was burned to death.

Honor Killing (also known as shame killing) is a murder of member of family or other members because of perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonor upon the family, or has violated the principles of a community or a religion, usually for reasons such as refusing to enter an arranged marriage, being in a relationship that is disapproved by their family, having sex outside marriage, becoming the victim of rape, dressing in ways which are deemed inappropriate, engaging in non-heterosexual relations or renouncing a faith.

The situation of honor killing is abysmal in Pakistan. According to a report by the Independent, nearly 1,100 women and 88 men were killed in Pakistan last year for dishonoring their families. The situation are not much better outside Pakistan since as many as 5,000 women worldwide are the victims honor killings each year. Majority of these cases slip under jurisdiction as they are not reported to police.

According to district police officer Khurram Rasheed, the punishment in this case was intentionally made severe so that no girl would dare run away from the village in the future.

Rasheed told AFP that the police were able to trace the perpetrators through mobile data.

“The accused confessed during the investigation that a few months back Saima, a schoolgirl from the same village and tribe, eloped with her boyfriend and Ambreen facilitated their frequent meetings and later their elopement,” he said.

The cases of honor killings are frequent in Pakistan. As reported by The Inquisitr last year, a man set his wife on fire for visiting her sister while a woman was stoned to death by family in front of court 2 years ago.

Pakistan’s largest state Punjab passed the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill in February to protect women from crimes of physical, financial and psychological abuse. This rule, however, has not gone too well with religious groups in Pakistan as more than 30 religious groups have spoken out against the bill, equating women’s rights campaigns with the promotion of obscenity and the destruction of the country’s traditional family system, according to the Independent.

[Image via Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images]