10/28/2008, 00.00
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Another "honor killing": 17-year-old Pakistani girl murdered

by Qaiser Felix
The young woman, accused of having an extramarital relationship, was mauled by dogs and shot to death by her uncle, who has the protection of the tribal court in the area. A land dispute was at the center of the killing. Unanimous condemnation from the political world; human rights associations call for justice.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Another honor killing against a girl in Pakistan: the murder took place in the district of Khairpur, in the southern province of Sindh. It took place last March, although the news has come out only in the past few days.

Tasleem Solangi (in the photo), a 17-year-old girl, was accused without any proof of "immorality": the young woman was accused of having an "extramarital" relationship, for which reason she was punished by relatives. From the initial reconstruction, it emerges instead that a land dispute was at the origin of the brutal killing. The girl was murdered solely in order to convince her father to sell.

On March 7, 2008, Tasleem was killed with shocking ferocity: first, dogs were released on her, biting her legs repeatedly, until she fell to the ground. The dogs continued to maul her until her uncle, Zameer Solangi, shot her to death with a pistol. Tasleem's father had to watch helplessly as the massacre took place. He had been expected to sell some land to the uncle and his associates. The killing was also supported by a tribal judge in the area, Karim Bux, who exerted pressure on law enforcement to keep them from opening an investigation. In May, Karim gathered a jirga - tribal assembly - to judge the case, which "exonerated" the killers and "guaranteed them impunity."

Gul Sher, the girl's father, held a press conference in Karachi on Monday, October 27, denouncing the killing and calling for justice: he insisted that problems related to "a land dispute" were at the basis of the action, denying the charge of "immoral behavior" or infidelity on the part of his daughter. He also denounced the "false accusations" made against the young woman. Security forces have arrested her husband, Ibrahim Solangi, who has volunteered to confess to the crime.

The federal minister for women's development, Sherry Rehman, condemns the action, calling it "an inhuman crime," and promising that the government will do everything in its power to punish those who are guilty. The minister confirms that the uncle was responsible for the killing, following a land dispute with her father. The political world is also stigmatizing "honor killings," a barbarous practice still widespread in some areas of the country, as a custom among the tribal cultures in power there. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Asian Human Rights Commission are calling upon the government to hand over those responsible to justice, and to defend the rights of the vulnerable.

The parents of the girl who was killed have issued an appeal to Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari and to the chief justice of the province of Sindh, asking for "protection" against possible new violence, and for the arrest of those guilty.

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