“Honor killings”

Pakistani clerics say women should be able to choose their husbands

Pakistani police escort Perveen Bibi (C), who allegedly killed her own daughter by burning her alive, as they go to local court in Lahore on June 10, 2016. Pakistani teenager Zeenat Bibi was burnt alive by her mother on June 8 after marrying a man of her own choice, police said, the latest in a string of so-called "honour killings" in the country. (Photo credit: ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)

Women in Pakistan should be able to marry whomever they choose and not fear “honor killings” for doing so, an influential group of Sunni Muslim clerics announced on Monday amid outrage at the killing of a teenage girl last week who had chosen her own husband.

The Sunni Ittehad Council, a group of 40 senior clerics who wield political influence in Pakistan’s Punjab province, announced a fatwa on Monday against honor killings, the practice of killing a woman who marries the man of her choice. The Council said that honor killings are “unethical and unjustifiable” and called on the Pakistani government to punish those guilty of honor killings within a week of the crime. It also called on the government to launch an awareness campaign. The nation is still reeling from the honor killing of teenager Zeenat Bibi last week. On Friday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered an investigation into her death.

“So the killing in a normal or in a brutal way (burning alive, etc.), as was done to the innocent Zeenat recently in Lahore, is absolutely a great sin. All clerics have severely condemned it and declared it an unlawful, unconstitutional, undemocratic, unethical and unjustifiable act that must be stopped by the state at any cost,” SIC’s Punjab general secretary Mufti Saeed Rizvi said.

Saeed Rizvi said that Allah had decreed that women should be free to marry whomever they choose so long as both parties are agreed, according to The Guardian.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

Related:

16-year-old Pakistani girl burned alive in “honor killing”

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Outlawing honor killings is just the start

Pakistan’s PM vows to change laws in effort to ban “honor killings”

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.