Two sisters living in Spain who were of Pakistani origin were allegedly tortured and shot dead by their paternal uncle for failing to help their husbands emigrate to the European country.
Urooj Abbas, 21, and Anisa Abbas, 23, were allegedly forcefully married to their cousins more than a year ago, but were unable to get their husbands visas to emigrate to Spain.
They were unhappy with their marriage and wanted to divorce their husbands to marry different people in Spain, Geo News reported.
The sisters were called back to Pakistan’s north-eastern district of Gujrat on 19 May and were shot dead a day later.
“The family created a story to convince them to come to Pakistan for a couple of days,” said Gujrat police spokesperson Nauman Hassan.
According to reports, when the sisters refused to sign papers to enable their husbands to emigrate to Spain and demanded divorce instead, an argument broke out with family members.
Azra Bibi, the mother of the victims, tried to protect her daughters but was locked in a separate room, police said.
Six people, including two brothers and the paternal uncle, who is also the father-in-law of one of the women, were arrested by the Punjab police.
Murder charges were levelled against the victims’ brother, a paternal uncle, both husbands, a cousin and both fathers-in-law, Gujrat district police officer Ataur Rehman said.
Two unknown suspects and another relative also charged in the murder are still at large.
Women in Pakistan are often forced into marriages and can be killed by male family members for refusing to oblige or voicing their opinions against the practice.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, more than 450 “honour” killings were recorded in Pakistan in 2021. Human Rights Watch estimates the true number to be closer to 1,000 every year.
Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media sensation who was known for her progressive views on women empowerment, was strangled to death by her brother in 2016 for “dishonouring” the family.
Her brother Muhammad Waseem said he had no remorse for her death and was pardoned in February this year under Islamic law.