PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Reuters
Two Pakistani men and a woman were stoned and then shot to death for committing adultery after Islamist activists said they caught them in a compromising position, an official and residents said.
Sex out of marriage is a crime in predominantly Muslim Pakistan and punishable by stoning to death under Islamic laws, although that punishment has never officially been handed down.
But in remote, semi-autonomous tribal areas, jirgas or councils of elders, often decide on such issues.
A jirga in the Khyber tribal agency near the Afghan border ordered the execution of the three on Wednesday, two days after they were caught and handed over to the council for judgement, residents said.
“Allah Noor, Shehzad and the woman, Tasleem, were caught red-handed in a compromising position by activists of the Lashkar Islamic religious group,” said Khiyal Mat Shah, a resident of the area.
Hundreds of people threw stones at them in an open area on Wednesday before relatives of the two accused men shot them dead, Shah said.
Hundreds of people are killed every year in Pakistan, most in backward, rural communities, after being deemed to have dishonored their families.
A government official in the area, 16 km (10 miles) southwest of Peshawar, capital of North West Frontier Province, said the accused had confessed to the jirga, and authorities had not intervened.
“We do not get involved in such matters which are decided by jirgas themselves,” said Mohammad Iqbal, an official at the political administrator’s office.
Khyber is one of seven semi autonomous tribal regions in the country’s northwest, along the Afghan border, inhabited by deeply conservative, ethnic Pashtuns.