updated 1/3/2007 8:05:13 AM ET 2007-01-03T13:05:13

Armed men cut off the ears and nose of a Pakistani man who married one of their tribe for love after he and his family refused to hand over his wife, police said on Wednesday.

The attackers also chopped the ears off the man’s brother and severed his mother’s hand in the latest “honor” crime to hit Pakistan’s conservative rural areas.

Such crimes, including killings, are common in areas where marriages without the consent of girls’ families are still taboo under centuries-old tribal and feudal traditions.

Mohammad Iqbal’s wife, Shehnaz, was not at home when about 15 armed members of her clan attacked in the central city of Multan on Tuesday, demanding she be turned over.

“The assailants, who were armed with small arms, daggers and axes, tortured Iqbal and cut off his ears and nose when he refused to produce Shenhaz,” Naeem-ul-Hassan, a deputy superintendent of police, told Reuters.

“They dragged us on the floor and thrashed us before cutting our limbs,” Mohammad Yasin, Iqbal’s brother told Reuters from Nishtar hospital, where he was being treated along with his brother and mother.

Shehnaz married Iqbal out of choice last year and the couple left Multan along with Iqbal’s family apparently for fear of reprisals from Shehnaz’s relatives.

The family returned to Multan recently to celebrate the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, marked on Monday.

Police have arrested five suspects, Hassan said.

Human rights groups say about 1,000 people are killed in honor-related crimes every year in Pakistan. In some cases, women who marry against their families’ will and their in-laws are disfigured as punishment.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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