A three-month pregnant woman was beaten to death with bricks by members of her own family on Tuesday for marrying the man of her choice against their wishes, police said.
Farzana Iqbal, 25, was attacked outside the Lahore High Court premises by over two-dozen people, including her brother and father, senior investigator Rana Akhtar told AFP. She had been due in court to contest an abduction case her family had filed against her new husband, Mohammad Iqbal, alleging that he had kidnapped her and forced her to marry him.
Some 28 to 30 people attacked her, said Akhtar. “The brother first opened fire with a gun but missed. She tried to run away but fell down,” the investigator said. “The relatives caught her and then beat her to death with bricks.”
Farzana’s father surrendered after the attack and called his daughter’s murder an “honor killing,” a police officer, Naseem Butt, told The Associated Press. “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,” Rana Mujahid, another police investigator, quoted the father as saying. He said Farzana’s body was handed over to her husband for burial.
Mohammad Mushtaq, another police official, confirmed the incident. Mushtaq said police had opened an initial investigation following a complaint by Farzana’s husband, who married Farzana after the death of his first wife.
“We were in love,” Iqbal told AP. He alleged that Farzana’s family had demanded he give them money before he could marry her. “I simply took her to court and registered a marriage,” he said, adding that this had incensed the family.
Farzana’s lawyer Rao Mohammad Kharal told AFP: “Farzana was here to tell the court that she married of her own choice.”
Pakistani women in conservative households have little say over who they marry and disobeying the wishes of relatives is believed to bring shame on the whole family. Last year 869 women died in so-called “honor killings” according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
“Such crimes persisted because of the impunity enjoyed by the killers,” the commission said in a report, noting that Pakistan’s blood-money laws allow kin to forgive perpetrators and that most killers were members of the victim’s family.