Sukkur police official kills fiancée, uncle 'over honour'

25 Jan 2019

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Suspect admits to using the G3 rifle issued to him for duty and says he was in uniform at the time of the incident. — Photo provided by author
Suspect admits to using the G3 rifle issued to him for duty and says he was in uniform at the time of the incident. — Photo provided by author

A Sindh police official in Sukkur shot dead his paternal uncle and fiancée on Friday and later confessed to killing the two allegedly over honour, DawnNewsTV reported.

The incident took place near Launch Mor area on Sukkur city's Miani Road where the suspect stormed into his uncle's flat and opened indiscriminate fire, killing his 65-year-old uncle and his daughter on the spot.

Upon receiving word of the incident, the police arrived at the flat and shifted the bodies to Civil Hospital for post-mortem examination. After completing all medico-legal formalities, the bodies were handed over to the deceased's relatives.

Sukkur SSP Irfan Samoon later met the relatives of the victims and sought information from them. The victim's heirs were reluctant to give a statement to DawnNewsTV as the suspect and victims all belonged to the same family.

Later in the day, the police arrested the suspect officer along with the murder weapon — a state-issued G3 rifle. The SSP confirmed the arrest, and the recovery of the murder weapon, saying an investigation will be conducted according to the law.

Editorial: Rise in ‘honour’ crimes

Meanwhile, the suspect confessed to killing his uncle and cousin. While speaking to DawnNewsTV, the suspect said his marriage had been arranged with his uncle's daughter but he had doubts over her "character".

The arrested official said he warned her to "not engage in adultery" and even spoke to his uncle about the matter but the uncle "did not disapprove of such behaviour".

The woman was a divorcee and this would have been her second marriage.

When questioned by police officers to describe fully the account of the murder, the police officer said: "I was in an emotional state. She was cooking in the kitchen when I went over to shoot her and my uncle was on the prayer mat, preparing to offer his prayers."

The officer, whose confession was recorded on video, goes on to say: "No one else was around except for her 12-year-old son who heard the firing and ran away."

He then admitted to using the G3 rifle issued to him for duty and said he was in uniform at the time of the incident and had acted alone.

Honour killings continue despite 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 two years 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 two years 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.