Newlyweds Killed In Pakistan For Contracting Freewill Marriage

Reports from Pakistan say the authorities have detained at least nine people over the killing of a couple who had contracted a marriage without permission from their elders.

Police in the southern port city of Karachi said on November 27 that the couple was killed by relatives last week on the orders of a tribal council, known as a tribal "jirga."

They said the victims, identified as 24-year-old Abdul Hadi and Hasina Bibi, 20, hailed from the northern Kohistan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, and married in Karachi about 1 1/2 months ago.

Officer Qasim Hameed said Hadi's father and other relatives were arrested after the couple's bodies were found in a Karachi graveyard on November 26.

The men confessed to murdering the couple with knives upon the orders of a jirga for dishonoring their Pashtun culture, Hameed said.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah expressed anger over the killings, saying: "This is Karachi, not a tribal area. How was a jirga held here?"

Hundreds of "honor killings" are reported in Pakistan every year.

In September, police said they were searching for dozens of members of a tribal council who ordered a teenage couple to be electrocuted by their families after they eloped.

The couple -- a 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl -- were said to be ethnic Pashtuns from Karachi.

Police said the fathers and two uncles of the couple had been arrested in the case.

And in June, a 12-year-old girl from the northwestern tribal district of Khyber was killed by her family after she eloped with a boy.

Local official Niaz Muhammad told RFE/RL that the alleged killers -- one of the girl's uncles and his son -- were detained along with two members of the boy's family.

With reporting by AP and Dawn