Several men have been arrested after two Spanish sisters who were forced into marrying their cousins in Pakistan were reportedly tortured and shot to death in what is being dubbed a heinous “honor killing.”
Arooj and Aneesa Abbas, ages 21 and 23, were tricked into flying to Pakistan, where their husbands, Hassan Aurangzeb and Atiq Hanif, tried to get their wives to sponsor Spanish visas for them. When the women refused, the young women were tortured to try to get them to comply, and eventually fatally shot, according to the Hindustan Times.
The cousins/husbands, the sisters’ brother, a paternal uncle who was also a father-in-law, another cousin, and the remaining father-in-law were all taken into custody over the weekend in Pakistan. Two other men who are thought to have played a role in the elaborate murder are still at large.
The plot was reportedly hatched after the sisters, who had been living between Spain and Pakistan and who were angry at the arranged marriages they were both trying to end, pretended to apply for visas for the men.
When it became clear they either did not apply, or had intentionally made errors in the applications to avoid having the men come to Spain, the young women were tricked by their own mother into going to Pakistan, where they were allegedly murdered. “The investigations have confirmed that both the sisters were killed in the name of honor,” Muhammad Akhtar, the investigating police officer, told local media.
Once there, they were taken to a location outside of Lahore and tortured and killed by a man who was both a paternal uncle and father-in-law to the eldest sister, authorities said.
The murder highlights the horrific incidence of “honor killings” in Pakistan, where nearly 500 women are thought to be killed in a twisted notion of family respect each year. In 2016, new legislation made it easier to arrest the family members carrying out the killings, but it did not curb the crime rate.
“This is yet another brutal murder of innocent girls raised in another culture valuing basic human rights, yet treated like inanimate objects by their own families,” Samar Minallah, a human-rights activist told The Guardian.
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