the crime of aneesa (24 years old) and Urooj (21 years old), two women born in Pakistan but residing in Terrassa (Barcelona), has shocked the Pakistani community residing in Catalonia. The two young women traveled to their country of origin last week and died tortured and murdered by their own family when they refused to start the bureaucratic procedures so that their new husbands – with whom a marriage had been arranged by telephone from Catalonia – could settle in Spain . The Pakistani consul in Barcelona, Mirza Salmanaccept an interview with The Newspaper of Catalonia.
How did you find out what happened?
First of all let me send my condolences to the family and friends of the two girls, Aneesa and Urooj. I learned about what happened through the Pakistani media.
How does the Pakistani community feel about it?
It is a very unfortunate event. There is a feeling of sadness. Especially the fact that the killers were relatives of the two girls, that adds to our sadness, and to the tragedy.
Did the parents know they would be killed?
I do not know. But I think they never knew, neither the father nor the mother – who was in Pakistan – imagined that this could happen.
This is normal?
Not at all. It is not a normal thing. But unfortunately it has happened. That is what concerns the government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan. Also to those of us who live in Catalonia.
Is the government of Pakistan fighting against these kinds of crimes?
The Pakistani government passed a law in 2004 against this type of crime, making it clear that it was just that: murder. And another in 2017 that stipulates that anyone involved in these crimes would be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison. The government is prosecuting these crimes. And we must also see that the six involved in this murder are already in jail.
The media is very active in condemning these two murders. There is a social movement of rejection. Currently a woman is part of the highest judicial establishment in Pakistan and 18% of legislators are women, the highest percentage in history. But unfortunately, violence against women is a problem, not only in Pakistan, but in the whole world.
Where has it happened?
In Gujarab, a very poor and illiterate part of Pakistan, the country is also more violent and has the highest concentration of police stations, a total of 28.
Are you in contact with the family?
No. What we know is that the two daughters are dead, that two brothers are in jail for these events [según fuentes de los Mossos d’Esquadra, son tres los hermanos arrestados] and that another son of the family died accidentally long ago. The mother is still in Pakistan. The father has not contacted us. The girls’ family did not notify the police. It was the police who intervened to find out. The investigation continues, the judicial system of Pakistan is independent.
What do you know about what happened there?
The two girls were already married. But the husbands had not yet traveled to Spain. And the families wanted them to come to Spain. The family pressured these two girls to start a legal process so that they could come to Spain. But the girls didn’t want to. That’s how it all started. They did not agree. And they tortured and killed them.
How did they get married from a distance?
The marriage can be done by phone. The imam has to ask the woman and the man three times, who must answer yes. I’ve spoken to the police. Possibly the two girls were forced to marry two cousins, one of the cousins was the son of a father’s brother and the other the son of a father’s sister.
Why are they called ‘honor killings’?
They should not be called that: they are murders.