A 25-year-old woman Farzana Parveen was stoned to death by her family in Lahore for marrying against their wishes. Parveen was killed by her own father, brothers and cousins on May 27 for marrying Mohammad Iqbal. However, the 45-year-old Iqbal has himself shockingly admitted to killing his first wife so he could marry Parveen. On May 29 it was revealed that Farzana Parveen’s sister was also murdered in an “honor killing,” poisoned by her in-laws.
“I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love,” he said.
According to Zulfiqar Hameed, district inspector general for the Punjab Police, Iqbal’s son from his first marriage alerted authorities about the slaying of his mother in 2008. Iqbal was initially arrested and sent to jail, where he served a year, before being released on bail because his son Aurengzeb decided to forgive him.
Iqbal said that he was supposed to marry Parveen in 2013 after both families had approved of their relationship. Thus, he decided to hand over 80,000 rupees and some gold jewelry to Parveen’s father. However, soon after her mother passed away and the family decided to call off the wedding and get her married to a cousin in Punjab. Yet, Parveen and Iqbal chose to elope and marry in a court ceremony. Reportedly, their marriage infuriated Parveen’s family and they demanded 100,000 rupees from the couple if they wished to stay alive. When Iqbal said he did not have the money, the family challenged their marriage in court, accusing him of having abducted her.
Parveen was stoned as she was returning from her lawyer’s office, where she had gone to admit that she had married Iqbal out of her own will.
“They left my office around 7:40 am… They arrived at the main gate of the High Court around 7:45 am The opposite party, the family members of Farzana Parveen, had been lying in wait for her among the cars. They suddenly attacked her, repeatedly hit her with bricks and killed her,” said the lawyer Rai Ghulam Mustafa.
One family member allegedly made a noose out of rough cloth and tied it around her neck while the others smashed bricks into her skull. Even though Iqbal witnessed the killing and tried to protest, he was held back and according to him, others just stood there watching. Human rights activist Farzana Bari said that in most cases people outside the family do not step in to protect the victim because it is considered a private matter.
According to the police, Parveen’s father admitted to killing his daughter and expressed no regret. Even though the father has been arrested by officials, they are still in search of the others who participated in the crime. Hameed said that Iqbal was on the run for many weeks after killing his first wife and that fact would be taken into consideration while determining his role in Parveen’s killing.
The United Nations estimate roughly 5,000 women are killed by their own family members each year. These “honor killings” are carried out because the women are understood to have brought shame upon their families. Honor killings take place in several countries including Afghanistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ecuador, Germany, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey and Uganda. However, women’s’ advocacy groups suggest that the crime is grossly under-reported and the figure could be as high as 20,000 each year.
Photo Credits: The Times UK