A 21-year-old woman has been raped and hanged from a tree in Pakistan, police say, in a case bearing a chilling resemblance to a spate of similar attacks that sparked outrage in neighbouring India.
The woman’s boyfriend of six months, named by police as Muhammad Saqib, confessed to the rape and murder and has been taken into custody, police said.
Saqib admitted he tried to force the woman– the daughter of blind parents – to have sex with two of his friends, according to police. When she refused, investigators said the pair argued.
The woman, whom he allegedly had promised to marry, was found hanging from a tree the next morning.
Police are still looking for the two alleged accomplices.
“The incident occurred in Layyah district (in Punjab province) on Thursday night and was reported to the police on Friday when the local people saw a woman hung from a tree,” senior police official Ghazi Salahudin said.
He said the woman was raped and strangled to death, and then her body was hanged to make it look like a suicide.
“But the branch was so low and the dead body was touching the ground in sitting position,” he said.
The woman was the eldest of eight siblings and made a living by farming a small piece of land.
The incident has disturbing similarities to an attack in India last month, in which two teenage girls were found gang-raped and hanged from a mango tree in northern Uttar Pradesh state.
That attack sparked protests over police apathy, and was the latest to highlight India’s dismal record on preventing sexual violence. Similar headline-making cases have piled pressure on the authorities there.