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KARACHI: The bodies of a teenaged couple, allegedly killed on the order of a jirga in the name of so-called honour, were exhumed on Wednesday for an autopsy and a medical team found that the couple was “tortured and electrocuted” to death about a month ago.

The shocking incident has brought to light a brutal tradition that the killings in the name of so-called honour have spread to urban centres. The crime went unreported initially and only came to the notice of authorities after a police informer expressed his suspicions about the death of the young couple.

Officials said that the bodies of Bakht Taja and Ghani Rehman, aged between 17 and 18 years, were exhumed in Mauladad graveyard in Sherpao Colony, Quaidabad, in the presence of Judicial Magistrate (Malir) Azhar Ali Kalhoro.

The bodies were moved to the Civil Hospital Karachi, where a team of doctors comprising Professor Farhat Mirza, Police Surgeon Aijaz Khokhar, Additional Police Surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi and Medico-Legal Officer Dr Summayya Syed carried out a post-mortem examination under the supervision of the magistrate.

Police say held suspects were ‘pressured’ by tribal elders to kill their offspring for ‘honour’

“There were visible signs of electric shocks and torture on both bodies,” confirmed Dr Abbasi.

He told Dawn that the torture marks and burn injuries ostensibly caused by giving electric shocks were visible on their legs, hands and shoulders. He said they were killed about a month ago.

Officials said that the girl was murdered first on the evening of August 15 and later in the night the boy was also killed within the remit of the Ibrahim Hyderi police station allegedly by their parents.

They were buried secretly in a local graveyard.

Malir SSP Rao Anwar had told Dawn that the police made some arrests when they came to know about the incident through an informer, who said that the cause of the couple’s death was not natural and they were killed by giving electric shocks on the order of a jirga.

Later, the investigation of the case was transferred to the Shah Latif Town police.

Shah Latif Town SHO Amanullah Marwat had told Dawn that four suspects — Sher Afzal and Mir Afzal, father and uncle of the victim boy, and Hikmat Khan and Zarkhatab, the girl’s father and uncle — were arrested and sent to jail on judicial remand after they “confessed” to their involvement in the double murder case.

“Efforts are under way to arrest the elders who held the jirga,” he said.

The investigating officer of the case, Sub-Inspector Ghulam Asghar Shaikh told Dawn that the arrests were made on Aug 21 after registration of a murder case on behalf of the state.

He said that the crime weapon — the electric wire used in giving shocks to the couple — was also recovered.

The IO said that the held suspects told the police that they were pressured by the elders of their tribe to kill their children for the sake of so-called honour.

He said the couple wanted to contract a marriage of their free will and on Aug 14 left their houses. However, they were traced and brought back by their parents the same night.

SSP Investigation (Malir) Malik Altaf said that the teenaged couple was killed by their respective fathers to protect their ‘honour’ and to avoid bloodshed.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017