SAHIWAL - Police was hunting a 29-year-old man who shot his two sisters dead in a suspected honour killing in Chak 67/4R Noorshah in Sahiwal district, officials said yesterday, two days after filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won an Oscar for a documentary on such murders.

Muhammad Asif, who is in his late twenties, gunned down his two sisters Suriya Bibi, 25, and Fouzia, 22, in village Noorshah and managed to escape. The accused was on bail. He had previously murdered his mother five years ago, according to police, before being pardoned at the time by his family and set free.

As per details, Muhammad Ashraf of this chak was doing business in Dubai. Ashraf’s son Muhammad Asif murdered his mother for being characterless. After his release on bail, he also killed his unmarried sisters blaming them for being characterless. Police said Asif has been on the run since Tuesday night.

"Muhammad Asif killed his two sisters last night over their character and lifestyle, which he didn't like," said police officer Tariq Mehmood. "Fozia was shot in her chest and Suriya was shot in her waist."

Police said neighbours and relatives had told them the deaths were honour killings, over Asif's suspicions that his sisters were having affairs.

Local police official Allah Ditta Bhatti said the sisters died on the spot.

More than 500 men and women died in honour killings last year, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says. Many of these crimes, carried out by relatives who say their mostly female victims have brought shame on the family, are never prosecuted, observers say.

Sharmeen won an Oscar on Sunday for a documentary about honour killings, prompting activists to call for changes in laws to punish those who kill women deemed to have disgraced their families.

Pakistani law allows criminal cases against those charged with a killing to be dropped if the families of their victims forgive them, or accept a "blood money" offering instead.

The forgiveness option in the law can effectively waive a complainant's right to seek the punishment of the accused, even in the case of attempted murder.

Changing the law to remove the possibility of "forgiveness" could help cut the number of honour killings in Pakistan.

Domestic abuse, economic discrimination, honour killings and acid attacks make Pakistan the world's third most dangerous country for women, a 2011 Thomson Reuters Foundation poll showed.