Police Line
Crime scene police line | Representational Image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON

A woman in Pakistan was allegedly stoned to death by her own family members, including her husband, for committing adultery. The incident took place in Rajanpur district of Punjab, some 500 km from Lahore, on Friday.

According to local media reports, the woman's husband tied her to a tree with the help of her brother-in-law and one more accomplice.

The accused brutally tortured her before fleeing the crime scene. According to local media reports, the woman belonged to the Alkani tribe and was killed in the name of "honour." They used clubs and stones to smash her head.

A Pakistani publication, the Dawn, reported that the woman was also made to walk on burning coals two years ago as a test of her "chastity." This was done as a part of a tribal ritual locally called Aus (trial by fire).

Police have launched an investigation into the incident and a post-mortem is being carried out on the victim's body. A manhunt has also been launched to catch the suspects, who are still at large.

Honour killings, known locally in Pakistan as karo-kari, are the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members due to the belief the victim has brought dishonour upon the family or community.

Are women safe in Pakistan?

Pakistan has the highest number of documented and estimated honour killings per capita of any country in the world, accounting for about one-fifth of the world's honour killings. Around 1,000 women are killed in the name of honour every year in Pakistan.

The incident has sparked outrage across the country which already has a bad record when it comes to the treatment meted out to women. According to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), at least 85 per cent of women in Pakistan "have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner at some time in their life."

Numerous honour killings have been carried out in Pakistan, where mainly girls face the wrath of family members for marrying a man of their choice. The latest incident comes days after a young doctor was shot dead in the Mianwali district of Punjab for wanting to marry her colleague.

Last year, a man allegedly suffocated his wife to death before boiling her body in a cauldron. Ashiq Khan committed the crime in front of his six children in the kitchen of the private school where he used to work as a security guard.

He first suffocated his wife, Nargis, to death using a pillow and then put her body in a cauldron. After killing his wife, the man fled with three of his children and left the other three behind. The police found the woman's body in the pot with her leg severed.

According to local media reports, Khan severed one of Nargis' legs after he could not fit her body in the cauldron. The incident came to light after his 15-year-old daughter reached out to the police for help.

In 2017, a Pakistani court sentenced a woman to death for burning her daughter alive in a case of honour killing. The woman had confessed to killing her 18-year-old daughter, Zeenat Rafiq for "bringing shame to the family." The incident took place in June 2016 in Factory Area of Lahore.

The deceased was first strangled and then set on fire by Bibi a week after she eloped and married a man of her choice. Her brother was also involved in the killing. He was given a life sentence for his role in the crime.

Violence against women in Pakistan is endemic. According to a report by Human Rights Watch on Pakistan, "Violence against women and girls – including rape, murder, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage – remains a serious problem throughout Pakistan.

The country ranks 130th on the UNDP's Gender Inequality Index and third-last, on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index.