(AA) Pakistani police have exhumed the bodies of a couple believed to have been murdered and hastily buried by their families after they eloped, in the country’s latest “honor killing” case.
Authorities in the port city of Karachi have arrested at least nine people connected to the double homicide, including the father of the male victim, but admitted that several family members sought in the case were still on the run.
The couple were reported missing when the owner of the house they rented in western Karachi entered the property after they gone missing for three days and discovered bloodstains around the home.
“The autopsy report says that the couple were killed by strangulation,” Dr Rohina Hasan of the government-run Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, told AFP Tuesday.
Police believe the couple were murdered by family members, including male relatives of both victims, after they eloped without their consent.
Authorities later began rounding up relatives of the missing pair, who confirmed they had been killed by their families and buried in unmarked graves at a cemetery.
“Both were killed in the name of honour,” said police officer Qasim Hameed on Monday.
Police said the bodies had been stuffed into gunny sacks and dumped in separate graves.
“We are investigating whether the execution was decreed by a jirga (traditional council),” Abid Baloch, a senior police officer, told the media.
Around a thousand Pakistan women fall victim to so-called honour killings each year — in which the victim, normally a woman, is murdered by a relative for bringing shame on the family.
Perpetrators have often walked free because of a legal loophole that allowed them to seek forgiveness for the crime from another family member. But the government has since passed a law that mandates life imprisonment even if the attacker escapes capital punishment through a relative’s pardon.