This news item is reproduced from the Daily Times, Lahore
* Provincial police chief says two girls’ brother has confessed to crime, federal govt sending top official to conduct probe
* Investigators exhume three bodies for autopsy
DERA MURAD JAMALI: Naseerabad police on Monday arrested seven suspects after the government ordered an investigation into the killing of three girls and two women who were allegedly shot and buried alive around two months ago in Babakot village, 320 kilometres east of Quetta.
According to Dawn News, investigators have exhumed three of the five bodies and sent them for autopsy. The arrested include the fathers of the three girls, a brother of two of the girls, a cousin of one of the girls and two others whose identities have not been disclosed.
According to reports, the five had been buried alive because the three girls had married men of their choice, while the two women had allegedly helped them. “Police have arrested seven suspects, including the brother of two of the girls,” provincial police chief Asif Nawaz Warraich told reporters.
Warraich said the brother had confessed to the crime before investigators and said that he had shot and injured his two sisters and another woman – a close relative, who had allegedly helped the girls marry men of their choice – and had later buried them alive.
The two sisters, Fozia and Janat, along with the woman, Fatima, had been buried in the jurisdiction of the Baba Kot Police Station after they had gone to Osta Muhammad, the Jaffarabad district headquarters, to marry men of their choice.
“The federal government is also sending a top police official to Quetta to investigate the murders,” said Warraich, adding, “We have no evidence so far which may substantiate media reports about the killing of the five women.”
Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik said he had ordered an inquiry into the killings and deputed a top police officer to conduct the investigation. He said he wanted a report within a week, adding, “We want facts. This isn’t a European society. We’re a different society, but violence against women cannot be tolerated either in the name of culture or religion.”
Rights groups, including the Women’s Action Forum, have demanded immediate action. “Are Pakistani women not human beings? Or are they not considered citizens, deserving equal protection under the constitution and law?” asked the group, adding, “The government needs to provide immediate answers and to take urgent action.”
More than 4,000 people, mostly women, have been killed in the rural areas of Pakistan in recent years in the name of family honour. In 2005, former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf signed a bill into law, introducing the death penalty for honour killings. daily times monitor/agencies.