Police were on Saturday investigating the murder of two Pakistani-Spanish sisters as an “honor killing”, a brutal patriarchal practice that sees women put to death for bringing “shame” on their families.
In deeply conservative Pakistan women have been shot, stabbed, stoned, set alight and strangled for the charge of tainting their family’s “honor”.
Such women are often slain by their own relatives, acting outside the law to uphold their family reputation according to ancient tribal mores.
Police in the eastern city of Gujrat said they are investigating the murder of Aneesa Abbas, 24, and Arooj Abbas, 21, as the latest in a grim litany of honor killings.
A spokesman told AFP both were seeking separation from their Pakistani husbands and were lured back from Spain to Gujrat where they were strangled and shot on Friday night.
“The family created a story to convince them to come to Pakistan for a couple of days,” said Gujrat police spokesman Nauman Hassan.
“Preliminary investigations show this is a case of honor killing, but it is still developing and the investigation is ongoing,” he added.
Police also said the women were being “pressurized” by their spouses - who were also their cousins - to aid their emigration to Spain.
Seven members of the sisters’ family are currently wanted for murder.
The Spanish embassy in Pakistan could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
Swathes of Pakistani society still operate according to strict codes of “honor” that radically undermine women’s rights.
Entitlements to education, reproductive rights and the choice of who to wed are all curtailed by the practice.
There were more than 450 honor killings last year, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Men are sometimes targeted but the majority of victims are women, and it is suspected that many cases go unreported.