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Man in Video That Led to Girls' Murders Arrested

Pakistan police say alleged killer is still at large
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2020 2:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – A man who allegedly filmed himself kissing two teenage cousins in Pakistan has been arrested—but the man accused of murdering the girls in a so-called "honor killing" is still at large. Police say 28-year-old Umar Ayaz has been charged with making the video, the BBC reports. The girls were killed after it went viral. Police say a third girl in the video, believed to be the wife of alleged killer Mohammed Aslam, is in hiding. The murdered girls were 16 and 18 years old. One girl's father and three other male relatives have been arrested and charged with concealing evidence and failing to report the murders. The girls were shot dead last week in the North Waziristan tribal district.

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Police say they heard about the incident through social media and "found traces of blood, as well as blood-stained fabric," at the scene. Gulalai Ismail, a Pakistani women's rights activist, praised police for acting quickly. "In such crimes, time is of [the] essence," she tells Al Jazeera. "And if this is delayed, like seven such murders that happened earlier this month, the incident is swiftly swept under the carpet, with many passed off as suicide or natural deaths." The remote, religiously conservative district only came under the full jurisdiction of Pakistan's federal government two years ago. "Before 2018, this kind of murder was not considered a crime in the tribal area, neither was it reported," Ismail says. (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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