Features, People & Parties

Pregnant Woman Stoned to Death in Honour Killing

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Written By: Sarah Horsfall On Tuesday, a twenty-five year old woman was stoned to death in downtown Lahore, Pakistan. Farzana Parveen was killed by her own family with the use of bricks and batons for marrying a man of her choice. On January 7, 2014 Farzana Parveen married Mohammad Iqbal. At the time of the attack, the married couple were on their way to the courthouse to confront a criminal complaint that was filed by Parveen’s father, Mohammad Azeem. Iqbal had been accused of abducting Azeem’s daughter. Iqbal told the BBC that they were in love and Parveen had been three months pregnant. A dozen people, including Parveen’s father, two brothers, and a former fiancé, attacked the couple. Parveen’s family termed her murder as an “honour killing”. The term is used for the murder of women accused of violating the sexual mores of conservative societies. The father was quoted in saying “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”. The BBC’s Shumalia Jaffery related that marriage against the wishes of relatives is culturally unacceptable in some parts of Pakistan.
Mohammad Iqbal

Mohammad Iqbal

Parveen’s lawyer, Rai Ghulan Mustafa, stated that it was not the first time Parveen’s family had tried to kill her. On May 12, seven of her relatives had tried to force their way into his office. She was later attacked near a police station where officers intervened. The police held the attackers for an hour before releasing them without charge. Tuesday’s attack lasted for fifteen minutes. Police were in the vicinity but had done nothing to intervene. Although Ms. Parveen’s father surrendered himself to the police, other relatives who took part in the attack still remain free. The 1990 Qisas and Diyat Ordinance have encompassed a number of honour killings. The Diyat Ordinance permits the individual and his or her family to retain control over a crime, including the right to determine whether to report the crime, prosecute the offender, or demand diyat (compensation). In consequence, honour killings rarely reach the court of law because close relatives mostly commit them. When an honour killing does reach court, the victim’s family may ‘pardon’ the murderer or be pressured to accept diyat. In 2013, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan stated that 869 women were murdered in “honour killings”. It is however believed that the real figure could be higher. The annual report also stated that women continue to face violence, discrimination, inequality, denial of economic rights, and lack of control over their bodies and lives. With the exception of Sindh, no province has introduced bills on domestic violence and generally on violence against woman. The term ‘domestic violence’ remains undefined in the Pakistan Penal Code. Parveen was buried Wednesday at two in the morning in a village graveyard in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province. One hundred mourners attended the burial, including her husband and his family. Her husband buried Parveen at night due to the gruesome state of her remains. Additionally, the burial took place with police escort on account of Ms. Parveen’s family having threatened to snatch the dead body. A majority of honour killings are given little attention and occur without consequence. This particular case has sparked global outrage. People are taking to the streets in opposition to the practice. This public opposition includes a statement from Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who said “I do not even wish to use the phrase ‘honour killing’: there is not the faintest vestige of honour in killing a woman in his way”. honor killing

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