, QUETTA, Feb 17 – A couple in southwest Pakistan have been stoned to death allegedly on the orders of a local cleric after being accused of having an extramarital affair, local officials told AFP on Monday.
Eight people have been arrested, including the cleric, for the suspected murders in the village of Manzkai, 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Quetta in sparsely populated Baluchistan province.
“Locals have told the authorities that the man and woman were stoned to death. Some people are also saying that they were stoned and later shot,” senior local administration official Zulfiqar Durrani told AFP.
He said that witnesses have told authorities that the man and woman, both from a nomadic tribe and married to other people, were found guilty of “illicit relations”.
“The bodies of the executed man and woman will be exhumed and a post mortem will be performed to ascertain how they were killed,” Durrani said.
Local tribal police official Abdul Latif Kakar confirmed the stoning, but cautioned that the full picture would emerge only once investigations are completed.
Hundreds of people are killed around the country each year in Pakistan in the name of defending family “honour”, but stonings are extremely rare.
Relations between men and women without family approval are considered immoral by many in Pakistan, particularly in the deeply conservative tribal areas.