Karachi, Pakistan. Sept 15th: Police say a teenage couple who planned to elope were electrocuted to death by their families on the orders of tribal elders in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Bakht Jan, 15, and her boyfriend Rehman, 17, were killed last month in the port city after the Pashtun council of elders, known as a jirga, ruled they had brought dishonour to the community.
Police say the couple were planning to elope but their families found out and tribal elders ordered them killed.
Both families had already reportedly agreed to the marriage, but the tribal elders didn’t want it to go ahead. The tribal elders warned that if the two families did not carry out the barbaric deed, their family in their village back home would have to bear the consequences.
Zia Ur Rehman, a reporter for The News, which broke the story on Saturday, said that the families had reached a settlement in accordance with their tribal traditions.
“Under the settlement, the couple were to wed and the boy’s family would give the hand of two of its women in marriage to two men of the girl’s family as the price of honour.
“But a jirga called to endorse this settlement on 15 August rejected it and ordered the couple to be killed as a lesson to others.”
Police officer Aman Marwat told the BBC that the relatives arrested “said that both the victims were drugged and then given electric shocks after being tied to a cot”.
He said that Bakht Jan left her home secretly on 14 August, but the family found her hours later at a nearby house waiting for Rehman, who had not yet arrived.
“The girl was killed on 15 August, and the boy was killed the next day,” police officer Marwat said.
Four people, including the fathers of the dead Karachi couple, have been arrested. Police are trying to trace the whereabouts of the head of the tribal council (or jirga).
“The innocent souls were tied to a charpai (rope bed) and given electric shocks,” said Aman Marwat, the police officer who arrested some of the family members. “The girl was killed and buried first, followed by the murder of the boy the next day.”
Officer Marwat said he is pursuing the fathers and two uncles of the murdered teenagers, as well as around 30 members of the tribal council, who are now in hiding.
District police head Rao Anwaar told the media that police had been alerted to the killings and burials by an “informer”.
He said the bodies exhumed at Mauladad graveyard in Sherpao Colony on Wednesday had marks on the arms, chest and legs that indicated electrocution.
“There were visible signs of electric shock and torture on both bodies,” Civil Hospital Karachi Additional Police Surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi confirmed.
Photo: No honor in killing protest march
Those involved in this case belong to the Pashtun Safi tribe from the north-western tribal region of Mohmand.
Tarar, the Federal Minister for Human Rights, later condemned the killings.
Human rights groups say so-called honour killings are on the rise in Pakistan. Most victims are women who are not allowed to liaise or contract marriage with a man without approval of their families.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had said there are hundreds of so-called “honour killings” in Pakistan each year. It recorded 837 killings, all of women and girls, in 2014. Nearly 1,100 women were killed in Pakistan in 2015 by relatives who believed they had dishonoured their families, according to an April 2016 report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.