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Pakistan elders 'ordered girl's death'

Do Not UseDo Not Use 5/05/2016
Police lead away arrested members of the jirga outside a court in Abbottabad, Pakistan. 5 May 2016 © AP Police lead away arrested members of the jirga outside a court in Abbottabad, Pakistan. 5 May 2016

Police in Pakistan say village elders ordered the murder of a teenage girl because she had helped a school friend to elope.

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The 16-year-old was kidnapped from her home near Abbottabad, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and put inside a vehicle that was set alight, police said.

Graphic images of her body have been circulated on social media.

Police say the victim's mother and the leader of the local council, or jirga, are among several people arrested.

The killing has been linked to orders given last week by the jirga, a traditional assembly of elders, in Makol village, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported.

According to police, the 15-member jirga had ordered the girl, named as Amber, to be killed and set alight as punishment for helping her friend to marry of her own free will.

The girl was kidnapped, drugged and killed and then placed in the back seat of a parked van that was doused with petrol and set on fire, Dawn reported.

Other media reports said the victim was still alive when the van was set alight.

'Honour killings'

A local official who brought the charred body to the morgue said: "We went to the place and found three vehicles parked next to each other that were burnt. In one of them we saw a body. We couldn't recognise her then. But found a few bangles on one of her arms establishing that this was a woman's body."

Thirteen people have been arrested, police said.

The girl's school friend and her boyfriend are reported to have married and be living at an undisclosed location.

Correspondents say so-called honour killings are a major issue in Pakistan and many go unreported.

Last year, nearly 1,100 women were killed by relatives who believed they had dishonoured their families, a report by the country's independent Human Rights Commission said.

In February, Punjab, the country's largest province, passed a landmark law criminalising all forms of violence against women.

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