LAHORE - A five-year-old girl and her 40-year-old mother were killed by relatives at a house in the Chuhng police area Wednesday.

Police say they believe the double-murder appears to be an act of ‘honour killing’. One of the two attackers was identified by police as Awais, said to be a stepson of the deceased. The bodies were moved to the morgue for autopsy.

The victims were identified as Shabana Kausar and her minor daughter Aaliya Shahzadi. A police officer told The Nation that the lady was stabbed to death while her daughter was strangled by the killers, who were staying at their house for the last six days.

Muhammad Rafique, husband of the lady, told the police that he had contracted love-marriage with Shabana some nine years ago. Later, the couple left their native town in Kamaliya, district Toba Tek Singh, and started residing in Lahore’s Shahpur Kanjraan in a small house on rent.

Awais and Shahbaz arrived in Lahore almost a week ago. They were living at the victim’s house. They attacked the lady with knives late Tuesday night when her husband was at work. Later, they strangled her daughter and managed to escape from the crime scene.

Local residents made hue and cry as they witnessed the bodies in the house on Wednesday morning. The police and rescue workers reached the spot and shifted the bodies to the morgue for autopsy. Also, the police registered the double-murder case against Awais and Shahbaz on the complaint of Rafique and launched the probe with no arrest made yet.

The incidents of honour killing are quite common in the Punjab province despite new legislation with harsher punishment for such criminals. The Parliament had passed the Anti-Honour Killing Laws (Amendment Bill 2014) in March 2016. The laws bind the law enforcing agencies to treat the honour killing as heinous crime and the state would act against the killers in case they would be pardoned by the relatives of the victim.

According to Human rights Commission of Pakistan, at least 1276 incidents of honour killings were reported in the country from Feb 2014 to Feb 2016. Although the law was approved to curb ‘honour killings’ after the outspoken social media celebrity, Qandeel Baloch, was strangled by her brother last year, lack of implementation and weak prosecution resulted in no break in such a serious crime.

The Punjab province witnessed at least 1,850 registered incidents of ‘honour killings’ from 2011 to 2016. According to official statistics, at least 328 persons were murdered in 2015, 404 in 2014, 388 in 2013, 366 in 2012, and 364 in 2011. Large majority of the victims were women.