Police in Pakistan have arrested 13 people in connection with the murder of a 16-year-old girl who was allegedly killed for helping one of her friends elope. Police in Abbottabad said village elders ordered the girl, named locally as Ambreen Riasat, to be strangled and set on fire during an "honour killing" for helping her friend escape the Galyat's Makol village and marry of her own free will.
Khurram Rasheed, police chief for the northern district of Abbottabad, said Riasat's charred body was found tied to a seat in a van in the town of Donga Gali on 29 April after she was kidnapped from her home in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Another vehicle parked next to the van was also damaged.
Police believe the girl was killed on the orders of a 15 member Jirga – an assembly of leaders who make decisions of groups based on the teachings of Islam – after a young couple left Makol to get married on 23 April with the girl's help, reported the Dawn newspaper. Police have now arrested 13 people, including the victim's mother, on suspicion of murder.
Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, a politician who serves as the Member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly representing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, told Dawn "strict action" will be taken against the Jirga who allegedly ordered the brutal ruling. "This is not a part of KP's culture," he said. "This is the first time an incident of this type has taken place."
However according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, there have been more than 15,000 cases of "honour killings"where a person is murdered for bringing shame on a family in the country since 2004, many of which go unreported.