Woman stoned to death by own family in front of court

LAHORE: In yet another horrific honour killing, 25 year old Farzana, of Nankana Sahib, was beaten to death with bricks and batons by none other than her own father and brothers among many others, and that too in broad daylight near the Lahore High Court(LHC) on Tuesday, 27 May, as onlookers including police reportedly stood by even though the woman pleaded for help. She was three months pregnant with the child of the man she had chosen to marry without her family’s consent. 

Dawn reports that the brutal attack took place on Fane Road, one of the busiest roads in Lahore, when Farzana, her husband Mohammad Iqbal and in-laws, left the office of her counsel, Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Kharal, to go to court.

The alleged killers, the woman’s father Azeem, brothers Zahid and Ghulam Ali and other family members, reportedly intercepted her and started beating her with bricks. According to The News, police investigator Rana Mujahid said that nearly 20 members of the woman’s family, including her father and brothers, attacked her and her husband with batons and bricks in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers in front of the LHC.

Dawn says that the girl’s family had got an abduction case registered against her husband and she had filed a petition in the LHC to get the case quashed. She was to appear before the court on Tuesday to record her statement in favour of her husband.

Eyewitnesses said Farzana was crying and pleading for help of passersby but no-one came forward to rescue her and even the police personnel present acted as silent spectators.

The woman suffered serious head injuries and died on the spot. Her husband and in-laws also suffered injuries. The News reports that the girl’s father was arrested, although Dawn says all the assailants managed to escape.

Farzana’s body was taken to the city morgue and the injured were medically examined.

On the complaint of the victim’s husband, a case has been registered against six suspects and a raiding team was sent to Nankana Sahib to arrest the accused.

Farzana reportedly married Iqbal in January this year. Her family alleged that she was engaged to her cousin but Iqbal abducted her and married her forcibly.

News Agency AP reports that 45 year old Iqbal, said he started seeing Farzana after the death of his first wife, with whom he had five children. “We were in love,” he said. He alleged that the woman’s family wanted to fleece money from him before marrying her off to someone else. “I simply took her to court and registered a marriage,” infuriating the family, he said.

According to Aurat Foundation, around 1,000 Pakistani women are killed every year by their families in honour killings.

The true figure is probably many times higher since the Aurat Foundation only compiles figures from newspaper reports. The government does not compile national statistics. Campaigners say few cases come to court, and those that do can take years to be heard. No one tracks how many cases are successfully prosecuted.

Even those that do result in a conviction may end with the killers walking free.

Significantly, the law in Pakistan, allows a victim’s family to forgive their killer, but in honour killings, most of the time the women’s killers are her family, said Wasim Wagah of the Aurat Foundation. The law allows them to nominate someone to carry out the murder and then forgive him. “This is a huge flaw in the law,” he said. “We are really struggling on this issue.”

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