A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death by her father and two brothers in an apparent ‘honour killing’ outside the Lahore High Court Tuesday morning after she married a man of her choice.
Farzana Iqbal of Chak 167, Jaranwala, was previously engaged to a cousin but chose to marry Muhammad Iqbal, a resident of Syedawala, a month ago. Her family registered a kidnapping case against Iqbal at Syedawala police station and Farzana arrived at the LHC to record her statement in favour of her husband, officials said.
A number of police officials and security personnel for the Advocate General Punjab office were present at the LHC at the time.
Police said Farzana was waiting outside the LHC, near a mosque, when members of her family opened fire at her. She survived the firing and subsequently, nearly a dozen men, including her father, brothers and former fiancée, pelted her with bricks and stones, according to Civil Lines SP Umar Riaz Cheema.
Witnesses said the men were waiting in cars before Farzana arrived at the LHC. The men continued to stone her until she died on the spot.
Local police reached the spot soon after Farzana died and registered a case on her husband’s complaint. A police official said Muhammad Iqbal was not near Farzana as she was attacked but did not try to prevent the attack, instead saving himself from the members of her family.
Farzana suffered head injuries and was taken to the hospital by passersby, where she was declared dead on arrival. The body was taken for autopsy and police told The Express Tribune that Farzana’s skull had been crushed in the attack.
All attackers except Farzana’s father, Muhammad Azeem, fled from the scene. Azeem confessed to police that he killed his daughter as it was a matter of honour. No further arrests have been made by the Mozang police yet.
According to rights group Aurat Foundation, honour killings claim an estimated 1,000 lives of women every year in Pakistan – the figure is compiled from news reports and the Foundation states that actual statistics may be greater.
Wasim Wagha of the Foundation pointed out that Pakistani law allows the victim’s family to forgive a killer and therefore the law allows them to nominate someone to carry out a murder and subsequently ‘forgive’ him.
“This is a huge flaw in the law,” he said. “We are really struggling on this issue.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2014.