An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Wednesday sentenced four men to death for murdering a pregnant woman in Lahore for marrying a man of her choice.
Farzana Parveen, 25, was attacked by members of her family, including her father and brothers, who stoned her to death in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers in front of the Lahore High Court for defying their wishes.
After nearly 6 months of legal proceedings, ATC Judge Haroon Latif awarded death sentences to four accused the father, brother, cousin and ex-husband of the victim for murder and terrorism.
Prosecutor Rai Asif Mehmood said the sentences were handed down on three counts of murder, terrorism and the killing of an unborn baby and the court had also fined each defendant Rs100,000.
Parveen’s killing in broad daylight sparked outrage in nearly every quarter of society. Condemning the barbaric incident, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had ordered immediate action against the killers.
Issuing the much awaited ruling, the court handed death sentences to Parveen’s father Muhammad Azeem, brother Zahid Iqbal, fiancé Mazhar Abbas and a cousin, Jahan Khan with an additional 13-year jail term to another brother, Ghulam Ali.
The court awarded death sentence to the accused under different sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
The convicts had also injured two persons during the attack on Parveen, for which they were handed a one year jail term along with a penalty of Rs20,000 each.
Incidents of honour killing have been widely condemned in the country. Every year, hundreds of women are killed by their families on charges of actual or imagined adultery. However, incidents of public stoning are rare.
Parveen, who was three months pregnant at the time of her death, was attacked as she and her husband, Mohammad Iqbal, arrived at Lahore High Court to dispute charges brought by her father that Iqbal had kidnapped her.
Her family was enraged when she married Iqbal, a widower, instead of the cousin who had been chosen by her parents.
Within minutes of reaching the courthouse, Parveen was assaulted by her brother and spurned fiancé along with a dozen male relatives who used bricks and clubs in the so-called honour killing for disobeying her family’s wishes.
A crowd of onlookers, including police officials outside the court building, failed to intervene during the assault, and Parveen died hours later of massive head injuries.
Four men, including Parveen’s uncle Muhammad Atta, cousins Jehangir Ahmad and Azeem, and a driver, Muhammad Nasir, who fled the scene were arrested nearly three days after the gruesome killing on May 30 while her father was detained on the spot.
Subsequently, cases were registered against them under Sections 302, 148, 149 of the PPC and 7-ATA.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2014.