Last week, another disheartening story of an honour killing in Pakistan made news. This one was different though—it happened in court, during a trial, by the victim’s brother. 22-year-old Raheela Sehto was in the courtroom with her husband, 30-year-old Zulfiqar Sehto, who was being tried on trumped up charges of kidnapping Raheela brought by her parents because their marriage was against their permission. As the two judges presiding over the case returned to the bench following a break, Raheela’s brother, Javed Iqbal Shaikh, rose from his seat, pulled a gun from under his jacket, and shot his sister in the left side of the head at point blank range, reports the Guardian. He then attempted to shoot Zulfiqar but was restrained by the police before he was successful. Almost foreshadowing this tragic event, in earlier court proceedings in July, Raheela’s uncle tried to strangle her with his scarf, the Sydney Morning Herald reports .
Shaikh, an obstreperous lawyer, a group of seemingly untouchable lawyers known for acting violently towards police in the past, gained access to the court in possession of the gun because, as Amjad Shaikh, a police superintendent from Pakistan, told the Guardian, “The lawyers, they don’t like to be searched. Security is a little bit of a problem there.”
Following the murder, Iqbal Shaikh displayed little remorse as he, and the four others at the proceedings suspected as accomplices, were arrested. Saying he had lost his mind, he justified the murder as an act of rage for her dishonoring the family.
While the setting of the murder was unique, unfortunately for Pakistan, honour killings are not. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, at least 943 women were killed in 2011 for damaging their family name, an increase of more than 100 than 2010, the Telegraph reports . And these are only the one’s that are reported.
The practice has even extended into Western countries including the UK. Last week in Cheshire, the case of Shafilea Ahmed, a 17-year-old girl whose body was dumped in the River Kent after being suffocated, was finally settled. Her parents, originally from a small pakistani village, were found guilty of an honour killing after Ahmed had, according to them, become too westernized and refused to accept an arranged marriage, reports the Independent.
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