Lahore – A Pakistani couple and four of their children have been axed to death by the wife’s long-lost son from a previous marriage in an “honour” killing, to exact revenge for her taking a second husband, police said on Tuesday.
The gruesome murders in the central city of Jhang occurred when the woman’s son by her first husband, who died more than 30 years ago, came to visit her for the first time in three decades, together with her former brother-in-law.
The couple’s 13-year-old daughter was critically injured in the attack on Tuesday night and is fighting for her life in hospital, while four other children escaped unharmed.
“Ghulam Fatima, who was in her sixties, had married the man of her choice after her husband died and they moved to Punjab from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa after threats from Fatima’s former in-laws,” Allah Ditta, a local police official told GNR.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is a conservative north-western province where it is frowned upon for a woman to marry for a second time, especially of her own choosing.
Allah Ditta added that Fatima’s former in-laws had been searching for her in vain since she fled her old home, finally tracing her to her house in the Athara Hazari neighbourhood of Jhang city on Monday.
Her son and brother-in-law were invited to stay as guests but murdered their hosts a day later.
“Her son and his uncle came to her house on Monday and stayed there until Tuesday night when they axed Fatima, her husband and four children to death,” Ditta said.
Mian Aslam, a second local police official confirmed the incident and said Fatima’s son Mohammad remained at large but his uncle Gul Zameen had been arrested.
Fazal Bhutta, a doctor at the nearby government-run hospital said the bodies of the couple and four of their children (two women, a girl and a boy) were brought to the morgue late on Tuesday night.
Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year on the grounds of defending family “honour”.
The Aurat Foundation, a campaign group that works to improve the lives of women in Pakistan’s conservative and patriarchal society, says more than 3 000 have been killed in such attacks since 2008.