Three teenage girls were buried alive by their tribe in a remote part of Pakistan to punish them for attempting to choose their own husbands, in an “honor” killing case.
After news of the deaths emerged, male politicians from Balochistan Province defended the killings in parliament, claiming the practice was part of “our tribal custom.”
The girls, thought to have been aged between 16 and 18, were kidnapped by a group of men from their Umrani tribe.
They were driven to a rural area and then injured by being shot. Then, while still alive, they were dragged bleeding to a pit, where they were covered with earth and stones, Human Rights Watch said. Officials, speaking off the record, confirmed the killings.
However, six weeks after the deaths, no one has been arrested, amid claims of a cover-up. According to several accounts, Balochistan government vehicles were used to abduct the girls and the killing was overseen by a tribal chief who is the brother of a provincial minister from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.
Some reports said that two older relatives of the girls tried to intervene but they too were shot and buried with them while still alive.
“This is a heinous criminal offense,” said Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch. “We have corroborated it and cross-corroborated it, but the second the police admit that it happened, it would trigger an investigation.”
Hasan said that with a presidential election on Saturday, one in which Balochistan’s provincial parliament will be strongly relied on to deliver votes, action that would antagonize the region’s politicians was highly unlikely.
In Pakistan’s national parliament, a member of parliament from Balochistan, Israrullah Zehri, said on Friday that “this action was carried out according to tribal traditions,” a view backed up by some other male lawmakers, who attacked a woman senator who had raised the case.
“These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them,” Zehri said over the weekend.
The killings happened in the Naseerabad district of Balochistan. Although so-called honor killings are not unusual, burying the victims alive seems to have been brutal even by tribal standards.
“It is very common for women in these cases to be deprived of an honorable burial. This is to make sure others learn the lesson,” said Samar Minallah, a human rights activist based in Islamabad.
Sarang Mastoi, a local journalist in Balochistan with Pakistan channel KTN, said that the villagers were scared to talk openly about the crime but he had been taken by some to see the burial site.
Under tribal — not religious — tradition, marriages are carefully arranged by elders. Marrying without permission is considered an affront to the honor of the tribe. Sadiq Umrani, a provincial minister, admitted that the girls were buried alive, but denied the involvement of his brother.
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for