Honour killings in Pakistan: Newlywed couple murdered in Punjab

Muhammad Zulfiqar and Shagufta Bibi
Age: 30, 23
Shot dead: August 2, 2023
Residence: Phoolnagar, Punjab
Origin: Pakistan
Children: none
Perpetrators: father and brothers of Shagufta
In the early hours of Wednesday, August 2, multiple assailants violently entered the home of Muhammad Zulfiqar, 30, and Shagufta Bibi, 23, and shot them to death. The double murder took place in Phoolnagar, in Kasur district, about 60 km from Lahore. Honour killings are cited as the motive for the crime.

Only a few weeks before, Muhammad and Shagufta had married. However, Shagufta's family vehemently opposed their love because they had already arranged a marriage for her to a relative. Despite the family's strong resistance, the two lovers decided to elope and formalize their love through a legal marriage.

Authorities are investigating the case. Charges have been filed against Shagufta's father and brothers.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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