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updated 1/23/2011 11:37:10 AM ET 2011-01-23T16:37:10

Relatives of a young woman in eastern Pakistan are suspected of electrocuting her for marrying a man against their wishes, a punishment reportedly ordered by a village council for dishonoring her family, police said Sunday.

So-called honor killings are a widespread problem in Pakistan, where women are often murdered by their relatives for marriages not approved by family or for allegedly having sexual relations out of wedlock.

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Police arrested 21-year-old Saima Bibi's father and three of her uncles Sunday, a day after authorities seized her body, which showed signs of having been electrocuted, said Afzal Lodhi, a police official in Bahawalpur district in eastern Punjab province where the death occurred.

"She has torture marks and burns on various parts of her body," said Lodhi.

Police seized Bibi's body after receiving a tip from a local villager who said there was something suspicious about her death, said Lodhi. Contradictory statements by Bibi's family also raised suspicion, he said.

Authorities are awaiting an autopsy report to be certain of the cause of death, said Bahawalpur police chief Babar Bakht.

Bibi's father, Abdul Majeed, denied that relatives killed her and said she took poison because she did not want to marry the man proposed by her family, said Lodhi.

Bibi eloped about a month ago with another villager, Dilawar Manzoor, and got married in the southern port city of Karachi, said Lodhi. The woman's relatives lured her back about a week ago by falsely promising they would agree to her marriage, he said.

But a local village council, or panchayat, sentenced her to death after she returned for dishonoring her family, said the groom's father, Manzoor Hussain. He accused her relatives of electrocuting her.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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