An 18-year-old girl was beheaded along with her 21-year-old boyfriend by her father and uncle in what the police are calling yet another incident of honour killing, DawnNews TV reported on Monday.

The incident, that took place in a small village in Attock district, transpired when the man arrived at the girl's house to meet her, police said. Soon after, the girl's father Masood and her uncle Waheed walked in and, after tying the victims with ropes, beheaded them with a sharp object.

The police have arrested both suspects and recovered the murder weapon as well, Sub-inspector of Saddar police station Asif Khan told DawnNews TV. The bodies of both victims have been sent to District Headquarters Hospital for an autopsy after which they will be returned to their families. A case of double-murder has also been registered.

Honour killings continue despite new laws

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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