Muqaddas Bibi, a 22-year-old Pakistani woman, was murdered by members of her family as part of a so-called "honor killing," according to what officials in Lahore, Pakistan revealed June 10.
Bibi's father, mother and brother attacked her and cut her throat because her marriage was not approved of by her parents, reports the Pakistan Express Tribune. She was seven months pregnant at the time.
The incident was just the latest in an epidemic of similarly-inspired murders in Pakistan.
For example, 18-year-old Zeenat Rafiq was burned to death by her mother on June 8, according to the latest report by Human Rights Watch. As with Bibi, she was killed because she would not submit to an arranged marriage.
In May, a school teacher was burned to death for refusing an arranged marriage proposal. Earlier that same month, a 16-year-old was set on fire inside of a car after helping her friend marry the person of her choice.
The practice has become so widespread that it was the subject of a documentary movie by Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. The movie, “A Girl in the River,” won an Academy Award.
Brad Adams, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch, expounds on the phenomenon: “So-called honor killings have been a long-festering problem in Pakistan, and the recent escalating trend makes it clear they won’t go away on their own. The government needs to step up its prosecution of these horrific cases and send a message of zero tolerance.”
According to Pakistani law, the family of a murder victim has a right to pardon the murderer, making murder-for-hire essentially legal.
A law was passed in 2004 that makes “honor killings” a criminal offense, but the law is poorly enforced, Human Rights Watch continues.
In March of this year, a new bill was passed by the Pakistan senate which eliminates the option of forgiving a murder committed in the name of “honor.”