| A Pakistani girl (left) shows her palms decorated with henna as another looks on at a beauty parlour in Islamabad. (AFP)
Marisahoo (Pakistan), Nov. 24 (Reuters): Pakistani officials exhumed the body of a 22-year-old woman on Monday after President Pervez Musharraf ordered a probe into whether she was the victim of an honour killing and said they had found evidence of torture.
Every year hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan by relatives for offences deemed to have offended the family’s honour or Islam, including adultery, marrying without family consent and failing to offer an adequate dowry.
But rights groups say many cases of murder for financial gain or other reasons are presented as honour killings as authorities tend to deal with them more leniently or not at all.
Hundreds of policemen surrounded a cemetery in the dusty village of Marisahoo in the southern part of Punjab province as medical officers conducted a post-mortem in a makeshift morgue.
“We have found marks of torture on the body,” a doctor said after conducting the post-mortem.
“Half of the body was blue, suggesting electrocution.” Other doctors concurred, but said the full post-mortem results would be released later.
Musharraf, who is fighting to end Islamic extremism, demanded the post-mortem of Afsheen Musarrat after being told about her case in a meeting with newspaper editors on Friday night.
Police say 62 cases of honour killings have been reported to the police this year alone in the southern Punjab.
According to news reports, Afsheen was found dead earlier this month two days after returning to her family, having eloped to marry without their consent.
The official APP news agency said yesterday that Musharraf had ordered police to make sure the culprits were held accountable if the murder was indeed an honour killing.