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Mysterious death of 2 Pakistani-origin British girls raises "honour killing" questions

Mysterious death of 2 Pakistani-origin British girls raises "honour killing" questions

Police in Pakistan's Punjab province on Monday did not rule a "foul play" in the mysterious deaths of two Pakistani-origin British girls who were found lying unconscious in the bathroom at their home, raising questions over whether they were victims of honour killings. Maria, 24, and Nadia, 17, were found dead in Gujrat city, some 150 kilometers from Lahore, last Thursday. It is suspected that their deaths were a result of "honour killings".

According to police, both British girls were found dead in the bathroom of their house and the apparent cause of it is suffocation by gas leakage from a heater. The girls' father Abdul Rehman told police that his daughters went to take a shower on Thursday evening but when they did not come out of the bathroom after quite sometime, their mother knocked on the door and called them but received no response.

When the door was broken, the girls were found lying unconscious. They were shifted to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival. Rehman said a leak in the gas heater in the bathroom resulted in the death of the girls.

Tauseef Haider, a senior police officer in Gujrat, told reporters on Monday that the police had sent the bodies for autopsy. The exact cause of the girls' death would be determined by the post-mortem findings. He said the girls had recently returned from London to attend the death anniversary of their grandfather along with their parents.

Asked if it was a case of honour killing, Haider said, "We have examined the crime scene and collected certain evidence. But at this stage we cannot form our opinion and also not rule out any foul play... let the autopsy report come." Police are also examining as to how both the girls went together into a "small bathroom" for a shower and how come both could not realise the leakage in the gas heater.

Police have also recorded the statements of Rehman's neighbours. Rehman insisted that his daughters died because of gas leakage and there was no foul play involved. "I loved my daughters," he said, rubbishing the question of honour killing.

Honour killings are not uncommon in Pakistan. The former prime minister Nawaz Sharif termed it a "stain" on the society while meeting the country's first Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy in 2016. The shocking murder of social media star Qandeel Baloch by her brother in 2016 had turned the spotlight on the so-called honour killings in Pakistan.

Hundreds of women and girls are subject to "honour killings" in Pakistan every year. In Pakistan, the statistics vary from around 900 to just over 1,000 each year. But these figures represent only instances documented by human rights groups based on reports from the media or law enforcement authorities, according to Amnesty International.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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