Pakistani man on why he murdered his sister in honour killing: ‘There was no choice’

'It was all I could think about – I had to kill her,' says Mubeen Rajhu

Harriet Agerholm@HarrietAgerholm
Wednesday 05 October 2016 01:09
Man explains why he killed his sister to defend his family's honour

A man in Pakistan has told how a sense of shame drove him to murder his teenage sister because of her relationship with a Christian.

Mubeen Rajhu killed 18-year-old Tasleem with a single bullet to the head in August after she married in secret. Her husband had converted to Islam to be with her, but he was originally a Christian.

Rajhu's confessions come amid concern over rising numbers of so-called honour killings in the country.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 1,184 people were killed last year, 1,005 the year before and 869 in 2013. Many more are likely to have gone unrecorded.

Rajhu said he loved his sister but wanted to protect his dignity after he was taunted by his friends. They had seen his sister out with a non-Muslim and told him he should kill her.

“I told her I would have no face to show at the mill, to show to my neighbours, so don’t do it. Don’t do it. But she wouldn’t listen,” Rajhu told the Associated Press. “I could not let it go. It was all I could think about. I had to kill her. There was no choice.”

Pakistan is an overwhelmingly Muslim country. Christians, the largest minority group, represent 1.6 per cent of the population.

Since the killing, Ms Rajhu's husband has fled the area, but the small Christian community in the area has been attacked.

The murder of Ms Rajhu comes after several other high profile honour killings in the country. In September a mother-of-three and a man were tortured and hanged from a tree after being accused of having an affair.

Despite a series of landmark changes in 2015, including accepting women as firefighters, abuse of women remains prevalent.

An annual report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in April revealed the extent of violence against women in the country. It recorded gang rapes, acid attacks and burnings of women in the country. Almost 800 women were found to have killed themselves or attempted suicide.

Religious groups have continued to fight a new law against domestic violence in the country, calling it "anti-Islamic".

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