Four men and two women sentenced to death for dancing at Pakistan wedding
RELIGIOUS hardliners have ordered the deaths of four men and two women after they were filmed dancing together at a wedding in northern Pakistan, according to local police and relatives.
A traditional jirga, or tribal council, condemned the six to death for "staining the honour" of their families after they defied local customs that require men and women to remain separate at weddings.
They were sentenced after mobile phone footage of the event surfaced, infuriating residents of a remote village in the mountainous district of Kohistan, 100 miles north of the capital Islamabad.
Muhammad Afzal, brother of the two men, told The Express Tribune newspaper: "A tribal jirga has declared them fornicators and they might be killed any time." Police officers said they were working to rescue the six.
Abdul Majeed Afridi, district police officer, said: "It was decided that the men will be killed first, but they ran away so the women are safe for the moment. I have sent a team to rescue them and am waiting to hear some news."
However, he added that the six might be victims of a local, tribal dispute and it was not clear whether they had been dancing together.
"All of them were shown separately in the video. I've seen the video taken on a cell phone myself, it shows four women singing and a man dancing in separate scenes and then another man sitting in a separate shot," he added.
The case highlights the issue of honour killings in Pakistan, where women are treated as second-class citizens in conservative, rural areas.
Last week, in its annual review of human rights around the world, Amnesty International published evidence of 705 honour killings and concluded that women face discrimination at home and in the eyes of the law.