Four cousins shot dead in Pakistan over ‘family honour’ on orders of village council, police say

Bodies of victims found in remote mountain area

Eleanor Busby@Eleanor_Busby
Sunday 23 December 2018 16:27
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Pakistan has one of the highest rates for honour killings in the world and the issue has sparked huge protests
Pakistan has one of the highest rates for honour killings in the world and the issue has sparked huge protests

Four cousins were shot dead over "family honour" on the orders of a village council, police in Pakistan have said.

The bodies of the victims – two men and two women aged between 18 and 21 – were found on Friday near their remote mountain village in the north-west of Pakistan.

District police chief Raja Abdus Saboor said one man has been arrested for his involvement in suspected "honour killings".

But police officers are still searching for others involved in the murders near Peshawar.

More than 1,000 women are killed every year in the conservative, Muslim-majority country over suspicions they engaged in relationships that went against the family's wishes.

Perceived damage to a family's “honour” can involve eloping and fraternising with men.

In 2012, five women were killed in the same region for cheering male dancers during a wedding.

The "honour killings" are often carried out by relatives and in most cases the victims are women.

A spokesperson for Pakistan's High Commission in London disputed the fact that killing was ordered by the village council and insisted it was an "individual act by the victims' blood relatives".

"The Village Councils do not have the jurisdiction to mete out criminal punishments," they told The Independent in a statement. "The Sindh High Court has already declared the Jirga system illegal. In the past, members of local councils have been arrested for intruding on the legal jurisdiction of Pakistani courts."

They added: "The two accused have already been arrested. Moreover, this is the first time that a post-mortem has been conducted on female victims of this region."

With additional reporting by AP

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