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ISLAMABAD: At least 40 Islamic scholars belonging to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) issued a fatwa (ruling) on Sunday declaring the murder of women or girls in the name of honour as 'un-Islamic' and an 'unpardonable sin'.

The ruling issued on the appeal of SUC chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza declared that burning women who marry of their will is against Islamic teachings as Islam allows a 'mature' women to marry of her own free will.

Condemning the the recent honour killings in Lahore, Abbottabad and Murree, the document states that such incidents have shaken the whole society and they reveal that we are moving towards social and societal degradation.

The fatwa also urged the government to implement proper legislation in order to curb such crimes, and declare heinous acts such as burning or killing of woman as an unpardonable crime as it is an Islamic government's responsibility to protect women rights.

Editorial: Killing women

The fatwa comes days after a woman in Lahore, Zeenat Bibi, was set on fire by her mother for marrying a man of her own choice. Zeenat’s mother later confessed to the crime.

Earlier this month, A 19-year-old school teacher from Murree was tortured and set on fire after refusing a marriage proposal while last month, a 16-year-old girl was strangled and set on fire allegedly for helping her friend escape the village to marry of her free will.

Last year, the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) had also declared murder of women or girls in the name of ‘honour’ as un-Islamic.