Two Pakistani women were shot dead in an apparent ‘honour killing’ after a leaked video showed them kissing a man

Women in Lahore, Pakistan, protest honour killings in 2004. K.M.Chaudary/AP Photo
  • Two Pakistani women, 22 and 24, were filmed kissing a man last year as a third woman laughed.
  • That video wound up on the internet earlier this month, and both women were shot dead on Thursday. The man in the footage has been arrested for vulgarity.
  • A father of one of the victims and the other’s brother have been taken into custody after confessing to the so-called “honour killings,” police told CNN.
  • Human rights groups estimate that around 1,000 Pakistani women are killed in this way every year.
  • “The patriarchy that upholds casual sexism is the same patriarchy that is used to justify, endorse, and perpetrate ‘honour’ killings. Neither is acceptable,” said the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
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Two women in Pakistan were shot dead in an apparent “honour killing” after they were seen kissing a man in a mobile phone video that’s making the rounds online.

A father of one of the victims and a brother of the other confessed to the May 14 crime in a village in the North Waziristan province, police officer Muhammad Nawaz Khan told CNN. They were arrested on Sunday.

The actions that led to the 22 and 24-year-old cousins’ deaths happened last year, Khan said. Footage made its way online earlier in May and shows a man kissing both of them on their mouths as a third woman laughs, according to CNN.

The 28-year-old man in the video has also been arrested for vulgarity, but the third woman is not in danger, Khan told CNN.

In a statement Sunday, The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called the killings “barbaric.”

“Antiquated – and lethal – notions that ‘honour’ resides in women’s bodies and actions still prevail across Pakistan, and it will take far more than laws to effect a change when perpetrators of ‘honour’ crimes continue to act with impunity,” the HRCP said.

Both Amnesty International and the HRCP estimate that around 1,000 women in Pakistan die by “honour killings” every year. That statistic is based on instances that can be documented by human rights groups based on media or police reports. Often, “honour killings” fall through the cracks of the criminal justice system because families don’t report them or instead choose to say a woman died of suicide or natural causes, according to CNN.

The two women who died on Thursday were in a conservative area that abuts Afghanistan, and many who decried their “honour killing” have been “threatened or ridiculed,” the HRCP noted.According to Amnesty International, Pakistan’s legal system has historically made it hard to seek justice for the killings because the victim’s family has been able to “pardon the perpetrators.”

“The patriarchy that upholds casual sexism is the same patriarchy that is used to justify, endorse, and perpetuate ‘honour’ killings,” the HRCP said in its statement. “Neither is acceptable.”

In 2016, Pakistan passed a bill to remove that legal loophole after the high-profile murder of a social media star and feminist, Qandeel Baloch, at the hands of her brother. Killers can now be charged with life imprisonment, but “honour killings” continue in the country’s remote areas, according to CNN.