Islamabad -

The body of a young woman was found hanged from a tree in Pakistan on Friday, police said, amid a spate of high-profile attacks on women in the region.

Muzamil Bibi, 20, disappeared from her home in the south-eastern district of Layyah in Punjab province shortly after midnight on Thursday, police investigator Ilyas Ahmed told dpa.

Hours later family members found her body hanging from a tree in nearby fields, Ahmed said.

There were signs of torture and an autopsy was under way to check for sexual assault, he said.

Her father Allah Dita had told police he suspected his daughter was kidnapped, Ahmed added. In neighbouring India, four women of the low-ranking Dalit caste have been raped, murdered and hanged from trees in recent weeks.

The latest incident came after the stoning to death of a young woman in front of a courthouse by members of her own family drew global outcry last month.

In June, another Pakistani woman survived after being shot, tied in a sack and thrown into a canal for marrying a man of her choice.

“The shocking incidents in recent weeks show vulnerability of womenfolk in Pakistan,” said Farzana Bari, a rights activist based in the capital Islamabad.

The incidence of rape and killing of women has been on the rise in Pakistan in recent years, according to data compiled by rights group Aurat Foundation and other organisations.

Suspects often escape punishment, taking advantage of loopholes in what lawyers have said are outdated and convoluted laws. - Sapa-dpa