pregnant woman was stoned to death Tuesday by
her own family outside a courthouse in the
Pakistani city of Lahore for marrying the man she
The woman was killed while on her way to court to
contest an abduction case her family had filed
against her husband. Her father was promptly
arrested on murder charges, police investigator
Rana Mujahid said, adding that police were
working to apprehend all those who participated in
this “heinous crime.”
Arranged marriages are the norm among
conservative Pakistanis, and hundreds of women
are murdered every year in so-called honor killings
carried out by husbands or relatives as a
punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit
Stonings in public settings, however, are extremely
rare. Tuesday’s attack took place in front of a
crowd of onlookers in broad daylight. The
courthouse is located on a main downtown
A police officer, Naseem Butt, identified the slain
woman as Farzana Parveen, 25, and said she had
married Mohammad Iqbal, 45, against her family’s
wishes after being engaged to him for years.
Her father, Mohammad Azeem, had filed an
abduction case against Iqbal, which the couple was
contesting, said her lawyer, Mustafa Kharal. He
said she was three months pregnant.
Nearly 20 members of Parveen’s extended family,
including her father and brothers, had waited
outside the building that houses the high court of
Lahore. As the couple walked up to the main gate,
the relatives fired shots in the air and tried to
snatch her from Iqbal, her lawyer said.
When she resisted, her father, brothers and other
relatives started beating her, eventually pelting her
with bricks from a nearby construction site,
according to Mujahid and Iqbal, the slain woman’s
Mohammad Iqbal, right, husband of Farzana
Parveen, 25, sits in an ambulance next to the body
of his …
Iqbal said he started seeing Parveen after the death
of his first wife, with whom he had five children.
“We were in love,” he told The Associated Press.
He alleged that the woman’s family wanted to
fleece money from him before marrying her off.
“I simply took her to court and registered a
marriage,” infuriating the family, he said.
Parveen’s father surrendered after the attack and
called his daughter’s murder an “honor killing,”
“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,” Mujahid, the police
investigator, quoted the father as saying.
Mujahid said the woman’s body was handed over
to her husband for burial.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a
private group, said in a report last month that
some 869 women were murdered in honor killings
But even Pakistanis who have tracked violence
against women expressed shock at the brutal and
public nature of Tuesday’s slaying.
“I have not heard of any such case in which a
woman was stoned to death, and the most
shameful and worrying thing is that this woman
was killed outside a courthouse,” said Zia Awan, a
prominent lawyer and human rights activist.
He said Pakistanis who commit violence against
women are often acquitted or handed light
sentences because of poor police work and faulty
“Either the family does not pursue such cases or
police don’t properly investigate. As a result, the
courts either award light sentences to the
attackers, or they are acquitted,” he said.
View galleryMohammad Iqbal, right, husband of
Farzana Parveen, …