Human rights groups in Pakistan are outraged at the killing of a young woman who was targeted by her family for marrying a man of her own choice. They are demanding authorities immediately bring the culprits of the “shameful act” to justice. Hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan in the name of family honor every year.
Police in the eastern city of Lahore say that 25-year-old Farzana Parveen was stoned to death by her family members just outside a courthouse.
The victim was said to be engaged to her cousin but married another man without her family’s approval. Her action prompted Parveen’s family to register a kidnapping case against her husband.
Witnesses say the young woman was waiting for the High Court to open so she could tell the judge she had married of her own free will. However, around two dozen relatives, including Parveen’s father and brothers, began attacking her with bricks. She received serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Police officials say all the attackers except her father escaped. He took part in killing his daughter and had no regrets, the father said, because she had dishonored the family.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the murder caused “serious alarm and disgust.” The woman’s only crime was to marry of her own free will in line with the law of the land, the commission said in a statement, adding with dismay that neither onlookers nor policemen at the scene of the crime intervened.
The commission's secretary-general, I.A. Rehman, says such brazen actions have only been encouraged by Pakistani authorities’ failure to act:
“We feel that these are premeditated murders, and the trend has been strengthened by the government’s failure to suppress crimes of this nature. And also, the increasing brutalization of society has created a situation in which more and more people are taking the law into their own hands and taking other peoples’ lives,” said Rehman.
No official figures are compiled, by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
says nearly 900 women died in honor-related crimes in 2013. The organization says even that estimate is likely too low, since many honor killings go unreported.
Since almost no one is tried and convicted for such killings, rights groups say it's no surprise that "honor crimes" are on the rise in Pakistan. The culprits, they say, usually are freed - either acquitted due to intentionally flawed police investigations, released as a result of political influence or "pardoned" by victims or their relatives.