It has been reported that Pakistani police arrested the brother and father of Sana Cheema. Miss Cheema was a 25-year-old Pakistani woman, who died under mysterious circumstances when she was visiting relatives in Pakistan last month. The family first reported that her death was caused by a chronic ulcer and hypertension, however many familiar with Cheema’s suspected that she died due to an honor killing.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term honor killing, it refers to when family members kill or severely injure another family member. This familial violence is rooted in the belief that there is damage to the family’s honor based on the victim’s actions such as interacting with men outside of the religion or violating any of the conservation and traditional values.
Cheema was living in Brescia, a northern Italian city and was seeing a gentlemen caller that was not approved by her family. The family made a suggestion at a different male suitor to which Cheema rejected bring a dishonor on her family. After a rallying cry from rights groups and social media, Cheema’s body was exhumed and forensic reports indicated that she was indeed strangled.
The Pakistani official Irfan-ul-Haq Suleheria told Reuters that police took into custody Cheema’s father Ghulam Mustafa and her brother Adnan Cheema.
Honor killings have been prevalent in Pakistan for several years as there was a loophole in the law that allowed the family members be pardoned if they were forgiven. New legislation was passed in 2016 which fixed that egregious error and doled out tougher punishments for those convicted of honor killings. According to the local Pakistani police since hte legislation has been passed there have been fewer honor killings in the area.