Islamabad, May 24 (EFE).- Two close relatives accused of the sensational double-murder of two sisters have confessed to the “honor killings” of the women, police said on Tuesday, reigniting debate over women’s rights and forced marriages in Pakistan.
Police alleged their maternal uncle Muhammed Hanif and brother Shehryar Abbas strangled and killed Aneesa Abbas, 24, and Arooj Abbas, 21, last week.
The women from Gujrat in the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab had married their cousins more than a year ago.
They lived in Spain, and their family tricked them into returning home a day before their murder.
“Muhammed Hanif and Shehryar confessed that they murdered them for the honor because both the girls wanted to remarry someone else in Spain,” investigating police officer Akhtar Hussain told EFE.
The police officer said the girls had performed nikah (the ritual of agreeing to a marriage contract) in Pakistan.
But the wedding ceremonies had not taken place, which means that they did not have any marital relations with their husbands.
Hussain said their family members snatched their passports and other documents when they landed in Pakistan.
The family members tried to convince them not to seek divorce and remarry.
But the sisters remained adamant and refused to facilitate the emigration of their fiances to Spain.
The girls had a temporary residency in Spain, where their father worked at a store in Barcelona.
They lived in the city of Terrassa, where residents took a rally in front of the town hall to condemn the killings.
Their mother moved to an unknown location in Pakistan because she got terrified after the brutal killing of her daughters, the police officer said.
A court on Monday granted five-day remand of the six arrested suspects from the same family.
The police said they arrested the accused on Sunday, 24 hours after the killings.
“I am shocked that a brother and cousins murdered them for honor,” rights activist Khawar Mumtaz told EFE.
She said it was a matter of forced marriage and honor killings.
The state is the complainant in the case, and there was hope that justice would be served, said the activist.
“Girls are not an object, they are humans so they should be treated like humans,” Mumtaz said.
Nonprofit Human Rights Commission of Pakistan data shows that 478 crimes occurred last year for the so-called “honor.”