(From the Arab Times, re reported elsewhere)
Killed For Marrying The Man She Loved
LAHORE, Pakistan, May 27, : In another disgusting example of cruelty and misogyny, a perfectly innocent 25- year-old woman was stoned to death with bricks by her family outside one of Pakistan’s top courts on Tuesday in a so-called “honour” killing for marrying the man she loved, police said. She was three months pregnant.
Farzana Iqbal was waiting for the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore to open when a group of around dozen men began attacking her with bricks, said Umer Cheema, a senior police officer.
Her father, two brothers and former fiance were among the attackers, he said. Iqbal suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead in hospital, police said. All the suspects except her father escaped. He admitted killing his daughter, Cheema said, and explained it was a matter of honour.
Many Pakistani families think a woman marrying her own choice of man brings dishonour on the family. Iqbal had been engaged to her cousin but married another man, Cheema said. Her family registered a kidnapping case against him but Iqbal had come to court to argue that she had married of her own free will, he said.
Around 1,000 Pakistani women are killed every year by their families in honour killings, according to Pakistani rights group the Aurat Foundation.
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. Pakistani law 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 Wagha of the Aurat Foundation. The law allows them to nominate someone to do the murder, then forgive him.
“This is a huge flaw in the law,” he said. “We are really struggling on this issue.”
The BBC reports that although the Pakistani government itself does not collect any data — and it is technically illegal to carry out such killings — several hundred women are said to be killed in honour killings every year in Pakistan. In the latest annual report released (PDF) by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 869 women were killed in the name of honor in 2013.
Earlier this year, the BBC traveled to a village in northwestern Pakistan to tell the story of a young woman who survived an honor killing and has been publicly speaking about it since. As the story notes, such killings are difficult to prove or to prosecute because of two reasons: first, the lack of witnesses to the crime, and second, lack of motivation for the police to pursue the suspects, regardless of the evidence.
But what happened in Lahore on Tuesday seems different. It wasn’t in a remote village in Pakistan, neither was it in the middle of the night. Parveen was killed in broad daylight, in the presence of several bystanders, in front of the top court in the second largest city in Pakistan.
Wellthisiswhatithink calls on the Governments of the world to not only outlaw this barbaric behaviour, but to take effective action to prevent it and other violence perpetrated against women. And we demand that the men in these cultures (because with some exceptions it is always men who take the lead) take a long hard unblinking look at themselves.
Let us be clear on a few things: this is not a uniquely Islamic problem. Other cultures in Africa, the Middle East and Asia experience this insane perversion of family behaviour too and it is not primarily related to religion. It is a cultural issue. Let us also be clear that uncountable millions of Muslims would find this incident as horrifying as those from different religions.
Second, there is no honour here. The men concerned are cowards, and cold-blooded murderers, and they should be locked up for life. End of discussion.
This was your CHILD! Your SISTER! A free individual. Not an animal. Not your possession. You should have done everything in your power to protect her, not harm her.
May you rot in the lowest depths of hell, as you surely will.