Yesterday, a 25-year-old pregnant woman was murdered by her own family.
Farzana Iqbal was standing outside Pakistan’s High Court in the eastern city of Lahore, when she was attacked by a group of 12 men.
Farzana was beaten with sticks and had bricks hurled at her head by the attackers; who included her father, two brothers and her former fiance.
Farzana was rushed to hospital, where tragically doctors were unable to save her life following the horrific head injuries she had sustained.
Her family will not mourn her passing because they were the reason it came to be.
Farzana’s family claim to have killed her in the name of ‘honour’.
But the truth is, Farzana died because she married for love.
Exact figures differ substantially because the Pakistani Government doesn’t concern itself with collecting official statistics about events like this. Human rights and advocacy groups record around 1000 Pakistani women being killed each year in honour killings but suspect that the actual figure is much higher.
Most honour killings involve women who have either engaged in premarital sexual relations or refused to comply with an arranged marriage; which is the norm among conservative Pakistani families and what occurred in Farzana’s case.
Farzana Iqbal, formerly Farzana Parveen, was engaged to her cousin but chose to marry another man, Mohammed Iqbal, against her family’s wishes.
Farzarna’s family responded to her marriage by filing a kidnapping case against her husband. She was in court on the day she died, giving evidence in her husband’s defence, explaining that she had married him according to her own free will.
In Pakistan, few honour killings ever result in a conviction for the murderers. In this case, the killers fled the scene and escaped; it is unlikely the local police authorities will devote any serious time to tracking them down.
The one killer who did remain at the scene was Farzana’s father, who will likely also remain a free man. You see, Pakistani law permits a woman’s family to nominate someone to carry out an honour killing on their behalf and then forgive them.
Undoubtedly, Farzana’s father’s barbaric view of justice will mean he is completely at peace with his violent actions and able to forgive himself.
Humanity Healing International and its partner in Pakistan, Hope Development Organization, are standing up for the women and girls of Pakistan to wipe out the stain of “honour” killings. Show your support for their local and international stand against honour killings by signing their petition to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, by clicking here.