“She was my sister. I didn’t mean to kill her. I’ve been crying ever since. She was my sister.”
A family photograph of Anum of shows a young woman smiling, long dark hair and her eyes hidden behind a pair of black sunglasses.
Yousuf Masih, the victim’s father, said that he was against the match because the two families were related.
“They started arguing. He hit her with the stick, he has no intention to kill her, ” the father told CNN.
“Things just got out of hand, he reacted in anger. In the end I guess it did become an issue of honor.”
He added that he filed the police report against his own son.
Violence against women is rampant in Pakistan, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
It said that in the first five months of 2016, as many as 212 women were killed in the name of ‘honor’. In a case earlier this month, a Pakistani teen was burned to death by her mother and brother for eloping against their wishes.
The crimes originate from tribal and cultural practices and are often meted out as punishment for behavior viewed as bringing dishonor to a family or village.
Honor killings in Pakistan’s Christian community, of which the Masih family is a part of, are “extremely rare”, says Peter Jacob, a minority rights activist and secretary at the National Commission for Justice and Peace.
The death of Anum, he says, showed that Christians weren’t immune to this custom.
“The incident in Sialkot shows that not only the peer pressures but cultural norms and patterns have crept into minority communities as well,” he said.
Pakistan’s population is 95% Muslim.
Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, has vowed to tackle the problem of honor killings, but critics say few concrete steps have been taken.
“There is no honor in honor killing, in fact there can be nothing more degrading than to engage in brutal murder and to refer to it as honor,” he said in a press statement five months ago.
On the walls of Anum’s spartan family home are pictures of Jesus and Mary. Beneath them her mother weeps.
Sajilia Masih, told CNN, she wasn’t home when the murder took place. She has two other children, who weren’t involved in the incident.
“He had no intention to kill her. I guess what happened, happened. I want my son to be released, he is my child after all.”