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Pakistani Man Kills Sleeping Sister By Smashing Head With Log in Rare 'Christian Honor Killing'

( [email protected] ) Jun 17, 2016 10:04 AM EDT
A Pakistani Christian girl was killed by her own brother, who smashed her head in with a log as she slept, in a so-called "honor killing" because he disapproved of the man that she was going to marry.
According to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), at least 109 people were killed for "honor" during just four months, between January and April this year. Reuters

A Pakistani Christian girl was killed by her own brother, who smashed her head in with a log as she slept, in a so-called "honor killing" because he disapproved of the man that she was going to marry.

Anum Ishaq Masih, a teenage Christian girl from the town of Sialkot near Lahore, was murdered by her brother, Saqib Ishaq Masih, on Sunday morning, Agence France Press reports.

Rana Zulfiqar, a police officer at the Sialkot police station, told AFP that Masih, 21, "smashed his sister's head with a wooden log" while she was asleep because he disapproved of her engagement to their Christian neighbor.

According to Zulfiqar, the siblings' father has filed a case against his son and Masih has since been arrested.

"They started arguing. He hit her with the stick, he has no intention to kill her, " the father told CNN. "Things just got out of hand, he reacted in anger. In the end I guess it did become an issue of honor."

Added the siblings' mother: "He had no intention to kill her. I guess what happened, happened. I want my son to be released, he is my child after all." 

According to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), at least 109 people were killed for "honor" during just four months, between January and April this year.

Human rights monitors say the incidence of such killings is on the rise. The HRCP reported 1,100 honour killing incidents in 2015, 1,105 in 2014 and 869 in 2013.

The BBC notes that most killings take place after the woman concerned is accused of having a pre-marital or extra-marital affair, marries a man of her choice despite her family's opposition, or refuses a marriage proposal brought by her family.

In the majority of cases, the killers are often close relatives - a brother, father, cousin, even a mother, or a maternal or paternal uncle.

Christian activist Shamoon Gill told Agence France Presse such honor killings are common in the Hindu and Muslim communities, but are very rare in Christian circles.

"Most of the Christians and even Hindus are converts," he said. "They have converted but there are still some elements of tribal society."

Gill added they are "part of a social issue that is deeply rooted in the eastern societies." 

Peter Jacob, a minority rights activist and secretary at the National Commission for Justice and Peace, told CNN that the death of Anum showed that Christians weren't immune to this horrific custom.

"The incident in Sialkot shows that not only the peer pressures but cultural norms and patterns have crept into minority communities as well," he said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has vowed to eradicate honor killings in the country.

"There is no honor in honor killing, in fact there can be nothing more degrading than to engage in brutal murder and to refer to it as honor," he said in a press statement five months ago.

However, no legislation has yet been proposed on the matter.