The Gujrat police on Sunday said that it has arrested six men allegedly involved in the murders of two Spanish sisters who were shot dead in a village in Gujrat district for reportedly failing to take their husbands to Spain.

"The police have arrested the six people, including the mastermind, in the tragic incident," the Punjab police tweeted.

"According to preliminary investigation, the sisters were against their forced marriages and were allegedly killed by their brother and uncle," it said, adding that the district police officer of Gujrat had been assigned the task of arresting the perpetrators after the inspector-general of Punjab took notice of the incident.

On Friday, Arooj Abbas and Aneesa Abbas, aged between 21 and 23 were found killed in their house. They were severely tortured before being shot dead.

The girls were married to their cousins in Pakistan more than a year ago but they were unable to get their respective husbands visas to settle with them in Spain.

Their in-laws suspected that they had intentionally delayed the procedure for their husbands’ visas, the police said. According to the police, the sisters' bodies were shifted to the hospital for autopsy, whereas a team of forensic experts collected forensic evidence from the crime scene.

On Saturday, the police registered a case against seven nominated suspects, namely Raja Haneef alias Goga, the paternal uncle of the women, who was also the father-in-law of Aneesa, her mother-in-law Farzana Haneef, her husband Atiq, Arooj’s husband Hassan, her father-in-law Aurangzaib, the brother of the deceased Shehryar, Qasid Haneef and two unidentified suspects, under various sections.

The fire information report (FIR) was lodged on the report of ASI Nadeem of Gulliana police after the mother of the deceased sisters declined to become the complainant in murder case of her daughters.

Police sources told Dawn that District Police Officer Ataur Rehman had directed the police to become a complainant instead of lodging the case on report of a family member of the girls to avoid pardon or reconciliation.

Meanwhile, an official of Gujrat police, privy to the investigation, said that the initial investigation had revealed that the deceased women were demanding divorce from their cousins as they reportedly wanted to marry with two Pakistanis belonging to Mandi Bahauddin district who were settled in Spain. However, the family did not allow them to do so and brought them to Pakistan where their nikah was registered about a year ago.

A spokesman for Gujrat Police said the autopsy and forensic reports would ascertain whether the women were killed through asphyxiation or by the bullets as torture makes were found around their necks.

He added that at least four raiding teams had been constituted that were conducting raids on various locations to arrest the suspects.

On the other hand, the mother of deceased women, who is also in Pakistan, has been quoted as telling the investigators that she tried her best to save her daughters and begged for their lives when they were being tortured by the suspects.

The DPO of Gujrat is expected to address a news conference in this regard today.

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