Two teenage girls have been murdered in a so-called “honour killing” in north-west Pakistan following a video circulated on the internet.
According to police, they are said to have been shot dead by family members on Thursday afternoon at Shaam Plain Garyom, a border village of North and South Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The murders came after a video appeared on social media showing the girls with a young man, police said.
Three men were reportedly arrested on Sunday in connection with the case. The suspects under detention are the father of the first victim and the brother of the second victim. The men had “confessed to their crime “in the name of (family) honour,”
The man who shot the video has also been arrested, while a relative suspected of carrying out the killing is still at large. The slain girls were later buried in their native village.
YouTube is a serious problem
The reason behind the killings of the two girls, aged 16 and 18, is believed to be a video shared on Youtube (and other social websites) which shows a young man recording himself with three young girls in a secluded area outdoors. Fraternising with men or any other infraction against conservative values that govern women’s modesty is especially intense in this region.
It appeared the video was shot nearly a year ago and most probably went viral on social media a few weeks ago, a senior police official said.
“At the moment, our topmost priority is to secure the life of the third girl and the man before taking any action,” the officer said.
Human Rights Watch says that violence against women and girls remains a serious problem in Pakistan. Activists believe about 1,000 such “honour killing” murders are carried out across the country every year.
Experts say enforcement of justice is often lax in cases involving violence against women, with proceedings at times being drawn out while accused killers were freed on bail and cases faded away.
That is particularly true in remote, socially conservative areas like North Waziristan, where women enjoy little freedom and local customs often hold greater sway than federal laws.
“Before 2018, this kind of murder was not considered a crime in the tribal area, neither was it reported,” she said.
Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas only came under full federal jurisdiction in 2018.