Two Pakistani sisters residing in Spain were murdered by their relatives in eastern Pakistan, after the 20 and 24-year-olds requested a divorce from their cousins, with whom they had married, and refused to accompany them from return to Europe.
Both were originally from Gujrat, in the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab, where on Friday night “they were strangled and fatally shot while sleeping,” local police spokesman Nauman Hassan told EFE. He has added that six suspects have been arrested.
“Today the Police obtained five days of preventive detention for six of the alleged murderers. The defendants were arrested yesterday, during the 24 hours after the event. According to the initial investigation, the sisters were honor killed,” Hassan said.
The spokesman has assured that the young women, after falling into a “trap”, had returned to Pakistan on Thursday, and their relatives tried to get them to intercede for their cousins before the Spanish authorities, with whom they had married them “more than a year ago”. so that they could “emigrate to Spain”.
“The sisters (…) wanted to get a divorce after the arranged marriage and both wanted to marry others,” Hassan has detailed, who has also noted that there are still three suspects without arrest, and the father of the young women “is still in Spain” . The mother has refused to file a complaint, something common in this type of crime.
Although at first it was believed that the two young women had Spanish nationality, sources from the Spanish embassy in Islamabad told EFE that the sisters are Pakistanis with a residence permit in Spain, where they were domiciled in Catalonia. As they are not Spanish citizens, the embassy’s consular assistance service cannot be activated, they have warned. In addition, these are Pakistanis who are in their own country, so it is the Pakistani authorities that are dealing with the event.
Those known as honor killings are common in South Asia and often involve male members of a family who commit what they consider to be an affront that contravenes the conservative family morals of local societies.
According to data from the NGO Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), 478 honor crimes were recorded in the country last year alone. Between 2004 and May 2018, that figure rose to 17,628 cases, although it is believed that the real number could be much higher due to the lack of complaints, especially when it comes to relatives.