Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) issued a fatwa yesterday, which said such killings were generally devoid of any legal or Islamic justification.
"These murders are akin to spreading mischief on Earth," it said. Tahir Ashrafi, chairman PUC, presented a draft of the decree at a national conference, which was issued by the PUC's 'Darul Iftaa' or department of edicts, Dawn News reported.
The event was attended by diplomats, religious scholars and representatives of minority communities. Ashrafi said the murders were usually committed due to suspicion and the killers usually did not have any witness to support their allegations.
"Unmarried girls cannot be murdered even if allegations against them are proven to be correct and there are witnesses against them," the PUC chairman said.
The issue of killing of women who marry on their own has sparked debates in Pakistan. Last week, a 25-year-old Pakistani woman was stoned to death by her father and brothers for defying her family and marrying a man of her choice.
The conference also endorsed a joint declaration which expressed sorrow over incidents of sectarian violence and attacks on places of worship of non-Muslims. Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mohammad Yousuf, in his speech, asked the religious leaders and the representatives of minority communities to forge a consensus on promoting tolerance.
The minister said the practice of forced conversion was prohibited in Islam. Several reports have appeared in the media about forced conversion of Hindu girls in the southern Sindh province.