A youth was murdered allegedly by his brother in Karachi's Ittehad Town on Friday, in what police suspect is a case of 'honour killing'.

According to police, the suspect stabbed to death his 24-year-old brother, Kashif, inside their home in Block 2 of Abidabad. The suspect managed to flee the crime scene but was later arrested by police.

Read: What Pakistan must do to end murders in the name of 'honour'

While in custody, the man told the police that he killed his brother as he (Kashif) allegedly had "illicit relations" with his wife, a police officer told Dawn.

The police have registered a murder case against the suspect following a complaint filed by the third brother, Majid.

Honour killings continue despite new law

Scores of people in Pakistan, an overwhelming majority of whom are women, are still being murdered by relatives for bringing 'shame' on their family, more than a year since new laws came into force aimed at stemming the menace of 'honour killings'.

In October 2016, a joint sitting of both houses of parliament passed two key pro-women bills that had been pending assent for a long time.

The move at that time was cautiously hailed by women's rights activists. More than a year on, however, lawyers and activists say honour killings are still occurring at an alarming pace.

At least 280 such murders were recorded by the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan from October 2016 to June 2017 ─ a figure believed to be understated and incomplete.

The legislation mandates life imprisonment for honour killings, but whether a murder can be defined as a crime of honour is left to the judge's discretion.

That means the culprits can simply claim another motive and still be pardoned, according to Dr Farzana Bari, a widely respected activist and head of the Gender Studies Department at Islamabad's Quaid-i-Azam University.

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