A teenage Christian girl in Pakistan was reportedly killed by her own brother this week in a so-called “honor killing” over her plans to marry.
The young woman, Anum Ishaq Masih, was in her late teens. She had insisted that she would marry a Christian neighbor, but the family did not agree to the marriage.
Saqib Ishaq Masih, 23, allegedly smashed his sister’s head with a log while she slept early Sunday morning, authorities told Agence France Presse. The killing took place in the city of Sialkot, south-west of Lahore.
The family is Christian. The girl’s father filed a case against her brother, who has been arrested and charged with murder.
Christian activist Shamoon Gill told Agence France Presse such killings are very rare in the Christian community. He said it has nothing to do with religion but is “part of a social issue that is deeply rooted in the eastern societies.”
“Most of the Christians and even Hindus are converts,” he said. “They have converted but there are still some elements of tribal society.”
Each year hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan by their family members in the name of defending family honor.
Between 1998 and 2004, over 4,000 cases of honor killings were reported in Pakistan, with almost 2,700 of the victims women and just over 1,300 men. However, observers say reported cases do not reflect the full extent of the issue, as honor killings have a high level of support in Pakistan’s rural society and thus often go unreported.