[QODLink]
Human Rights

Pakistan woman stoned by family outside court

Pregnant woman killed outside courthouse in Lahore for marrying man without family's approval.

Last updated: 28 May 2014 07:43
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Farzana Parveen's body was handed over to her husband for burial [Reuters]

A pregnant woman has been stoned to death by her own family outside a courthouse in the Pakistani city of Lahore for marrying a man her family disapproved of.

Farzana Parveen, a 25-year-old, was killed while on her way to court to contest an abduction case her family had filed against her husband.

Her father was promptly arrested on murder charges, police investigator Rana Mujahid said, adding that police were working to apprehend all those who participated in this "heinous crime".

Arranged marriages are common among conservative Pakistanis, and hundreds of women are murdered every year in so-called honour killings carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behaviour.

Stonings in public settings, however, are extremely rare. Tuesday's attack took place in front of a crowd of onlookers in broad daylight. The courthouse is located on a main downtown thoroughfare.

A police officer, Naseem Butt, said Parveen had married Mohammad Iqbal, 45, against her family's wishes after being engaged to him for years.

Three months pregnant

Her father, Mohammad Azeem, had filed an abduction case against Iqbal, which the couple was contesting, said her lawyer, Mustafa Kharal. He said she was three months pregnant.

I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it.

Mohammad Azeem, victim's father

Nearly 20 members of Parveen's extended family, including her father and brothers, had waited outside the building that houses the high court of Lahore. As the couple walked up to the main gate, the relatives fired shots in the air and tried to snatch her from Iqbal, her lawyer said.

When she resisted, her father, brothers and other relatives started beating her, eventually pelting her with bricks from a nearby construction site, according to Mujahid and Iqbal, the slain woman's husband.

Iqbal said he started seeing Parveen after the death of his first wife, with whom he had five children.

"We were in love,'' he told the Associated Press. He alleged that the woman's family wanted to fleece money from him before marrying her off.

"I simply took her to court and registered a marriage,'' infuriating the family, he said.

Parveen's father surrendered after the attack and called his daughter's murder an "honour killing", Butt said.

'No regret'

"I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it," Mujahid, the police investigator, quoted the father as saying.

Mujahid said the woman's body was handed over to her husband for burial. 

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a private group, said in a report last month that about 869 women were murdered in honour killings in 2013.

But even Pakistanis who have tracked violence against women expressed shock at the brutal and public nature of Tuesday's slaying.

"I have not heard of any such case in which a woman was stoned to death, and the most shameful and worrying thing is that this woman was killed outside a courthouse,'' said Zia Awan, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist.

He said Pakistanis who commit violence against women are often acquitted or handed light sentences because of poor police work and faulty prosecutions.

"Either the family does not pursue such cases or police don't properly investigate. As a result, the courts either award light sentences to the attackers, or they are acquitted," he said.

567

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.