Jan 062018

A 30-year-old man was allegedly murdered by his maternal uncle last month in Karachi’s Saeedabad area in what police suspect to be a case of 'honour killing', it emerged on Saturday.

Ghulam Mustafa was found stabbed to death on a street in Saeedabad area on December 12, said West Zone-SSP (Investigation) Zeeshan Shafiq Siddiqi.

During initial probe, the relatives of the victim told investigators that a maternal uncle of Mustafa, who lived in the same street, has been missing since then and his mobile phone was also shut.

The police treated him as a suspect and with help of modern technology managed to arrest him from Lahore.

During interrogation, the held suspect “confessed” that he killed his nephew on the suspicion that he (the nephew) allegedly had illicit ties with his wife, revealed SSP Siddiqi.

Honour killings continue despite new law

Scores of young women and some men in Pakistan are still being murdered by relatives for bringing shame on their family, a year since new laws came into force aimed at stemming the flow of 'honour killings'.

The shocking murder of social media star Qandeel Baloch, allegedly by her brother in July 2016, turned the spotlight on an epidemic of murders in the name of honour and sparked a fresh push to close loopholes allowing the killers to walk free.

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 underestimated 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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