Pakistan Honour Killing
Pakistanis protest over violence against women in the country - which claims 1,000 honour killings every year Getty

Two Pakistani men allegedly gouged their sister's eyes out and cut her feet off after they suspected her of kidnapping one of their daughters.

Muhammad Afzal and Mohammad Munir are on the run after the savage attack of 40-year-old mother-of-five, Shareefan Bibi in Muzaffargarh, Punjab, who was hacked with a "sharp knife".

Shareefan was reportedly taken to a rural health centre on Tuesday (1 November), and received further treatment in hospital in the city of Multan, where she was in a critical condition.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Shareefan's daughter Nusrat claimed her uncles wanted to kill her mother because they believed she had kidnapped Afzal's daughter Asia. The girl's disappearance was reported to police after she went missing last week.

Police have launched a manhunt for the brothers while a third suspect, named Muhammad Aslam, is also under suspicion of luring the mother-of-five to the location where she was attacked, The Independent reports.

The number of so-called honour killings in Pakistan has increased in recent years. A total of 1,096 women died in honour killings in the country in 2015 compared with 869 in 2013, according to the country's independent Human Rights Commission.

Honour crimes are often perpetrated by fathers, brothers or husbands who perceive acts of independence by women, such as marrying the man of their choice, as bringing dishonour on the family.

In July 2016, Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch was allegedly strangled to death by her brother in the province of Punjab. In the same month, British woman Samia Shahid was allegedly killed by her father and her former husband after she chose to divorce him and marry another man.

In October, a bill was passed by the Pakistan parliament creating stronger penalties for convicted honour killers. In accordance with Sharia law, until now the families of victims have been allowed to forgive the killers who are usually close relatives and as a result escape punishment for the crimes.

The new law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years to anyone convicted of killing for the sake of family honour and no longer allows family members to legally pardon perpetrators. The law permits forgiveness only of an "honour" killer who is sentenced to death; if the killer is forgiven, he would still have to serve 25 years in jail.

Naveed Qamar, a member of the opposition Pakistan People's Party said the new stringent laws are long-overdue. "Honour killings are a cancer in our society. This law is being presented against this cancer."