'Honour-killing' whistleblower shot dead in Pakistan | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 09, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, March 09, 2019

'Honour-killing' whistleblower shot dead in Pakistan

Women's rights activists Friday condemned the murder of a whistleblower in a notorious "honour killing" case that has shone a years-long spotlight on female victims -- and the men who defend them -- in deeply patriarchal Pakistan.

Afzal Kohistani, the man who first drew attention to the infamous incident in 2012, was gunned down in Abbottabad on Wednesday, police have said.

He had pursued a case in which a local cleric order the deaths of male and female wedding guests shown enjoying themselves in a video.

Precise details remain shrouded in mystery but Kohistani had long been adamant that women shown in the video had been murdered.

He was shot five times on a busy road and died on the spot, Abdul Aziz Afridi, a senior police official, told AFP.

Officials said Friday that at least two arrests had been made.

"The perpetrators of this heinous crime will be brought to justice," Shaukat Yousafzai, provincial information minister, told AFP.

Kohistani's murder has ignited anger in Pakistan, where rights activists have long fought against the patriarchal notion of "honour", which remains prevalent across South Asia.

Women have been shot, stabbed, stoned, set alight and strangled for bringing "shame" on their families for everything from refusing marriage proposals to wedding the "wrong" man and helping friends elope.

Men can be victims too, though it is rarer.

"Will be raising this shocking murder of Afzal Kohistani in parliament," opposition leader Sherry Rehman tweeted.

Rights activists participating in a march to mark International Women's Day on Friday condemned Kohistani's shooting.

"This incident has brought to the focus, once again, how vulnerable those that raise their voice still are," said Benazir Jatoi, a human rights lawyer and march organiser.

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