Pakistan to make public inquiry into honour killings

September 4th, 2008 - 7:03 am ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Sep 4 (DPA) Pakistan will complete the inquiry into the so-called honour killing of five women in the southwestern province of Balochistan within a week and will make it public soon, a top security official has said.”The inquiry will be completed within four to five days and we will make it public very soon,” Rehman Malik, security advisor to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, said here Wednesday.

Pakistan is the focus of an international outcry over the alleged “buried alive” deaths in July of five women who married men of their own choice in the country’s conservative heartland.

The police Tuesday exhumed the bodies of two young women from the same grave, around 10 km from the women’s Babacot village in Nasirabad district.

According to the police, the women were buried with the same clothes they were wearing at the time of their deaths.

Under old Baloch laws, women’s bodies are not wrapped in traditional Islamic white cotton shrouds nor are customary burial religious rituals preformed if they were killed over violating honour codes or accused of lacking chastity.

Malik said the grave of the third women was still unidentified but would soon be located, while confirming the bodies were bullet-riddled. But he said it was not known whether the women were strangled to death before being shot or were simply shot and buried while still alive and injured.

“Only post-mortem will answer these questions,” he said.

The other two women, whose deaths are still not confirmed, are believed to be elderly relatives who were trying to save their young family members from the wrath of angry male family members.

Meanwhile, Malik confirmed the arrest of three male suspects, all close relatives of the victims, and said he hoped for the arrest of a fourth accomplice “very soon”.

About 50 percent of the 170 million population of Pakistan are illiterate and honour killing by male relatives is rampant in countryside if they have even the slightest suspicion that their women have broken family nobility codes.

On Monday the Pakistani Senate (upper house) also called for action against those responsible for the killings.

An uproar was witnessed when women rights groups protested over alleged defence of the honour killings by some influential senators from the province.

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