The bodies of a teenage couple in Karachi feared to have been murdered by their families after they wished to contract a free-will marriage were found bearing electrocution and torture marks following a post-mortem examination on Wednesday, officials said.

The bodies of the girl (15), and the boy (17), were exhumed from the Mauladad graveyard in Sherpao Colony in the presence of Azhar Ali Kalhoro, a judicial magistrate, and a team of doctors and police officials.

Civil Hospital Karachi Additional Police Surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi confirmed that "there were visible signs of electric shock and torture on both bodies."

Shah Latif Town Police Investigating Officer (IO) Ghulam Asghar Shaikh told Dawn that the girl and boy fled their homes on Aug 14 and stayed at the home of a relative in Sherpao Colony as they intended to marry of their own will. The relative, however, informed the parents of both victims, who then took them away.

After the development, a 30-35 person jirga was held, presided over by a local tribal elder identified as Sartaj, the IO said.

Following the jirga, the girl was electrocuted at around 11pm on Aug 15, while the boy was electrocuted around 3am on Aug 16, the IO added.

Police got wind of the case through an informant and subsequently filed a first information report on behalf of the state, after which four accused ─ the fathers and uncles of the victims ─ were arrested on Aug 21.

IO Shaikh said the accused, who had confessed to the crime, claimed to repent killing the children, alleging they were under the pressure of the jirga which urged them to murder the pair in order to to protect the 'honour' of their tribe.

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