Police ‘watched Farzana being killed and did nothing’
We are a savage, violent society. We take law in our own hands at the slightest possibility. Event when we are at courts. This gruesome murder, like the Sialkot brothers’ street killing a few years ago by a violent mob, happened at the Lahore High Court yesterday.
Update on 29 May afternoon: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has described the stoning to death of a woman by her family in front of a Lahore court as “totally unacceptable”. He ordered the chief minister of Punjab province to take “immediate action” and submit a report by Thursday evening.
Read the BBC report, below:
The husband of a Pakistani woman stoned to death in broad daylight outside a Lahore court says police stood by and did nothing to stop the attack.
Farzana Parveen, who was three months pregnant, was killed by her family on Tuesday for marrying a man she loved.
“We were shouting for help; nobody listened,” her husband, Muhammad Iqbal, told the BBC.
Correspondents say there are hundreds of so-called “honour killings” of women in Pakistan each year.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said she was “deeply shocked” and urged Pakistan’s government to take “urgent and strong measures”.
“I do not even wish to use the phrase ‘honour killing’: there is not the faintest vestige of honour in killing a woman in this way.”
Mr Iqbal described the police as “shameful” and “inhuman” for their failure to stop the attack.
“We were shouting for help, but nobody listened. One of my relatives took off his clothes to capture police attention but they didn’t intervene.
“They watched Farzana being killed and did nothing.”
Shahzeb Jillani, BBC News, Karachi
This murder has appalled Pakistan’s small but vocal civil society. Social media activists took to Twitter and Facebook to express their shock. English-language newspapers have published strongly-worded editorials to denounce the brutal crime.
But all that is in sharp contrast to the muted reaction in the mainstream Urdu language media which, instead, chose to focus on political and security-related stories.
The killing of a woman in the name of honour remains an appalling reality in villages and towns across Pakistan.
As Dawn newspaper points out in its editorial: “The most shocking aspect of this killing, however, is that all the people witnessing the crime, even the law enforcers, were silent spectators as a woman was bludgeoned to her death.”
Arranged marriages are the norm in Pakistan and to marry against the wishes of the family is unthinkable in many deeply conservative communities.
Ms Parveen’s father later surrendered to police but other relatives who took part in the attack are still free.
Mr Iqbal said they were threatening him and his family.
“Yesterday they said they would snatch the dead body,” he said. “We came here with a police escort”.
“We arrested a few of them and others are currently being investigated,” local police chief Mujahid Hussain said.
Columnist Ayaz Amir on this:
In the majestic confines of the Lahore High Court a young girl is assaulted with bricks by her outraged parents because she had married a man of her choice. Killing in the name of ‘honour’ remains a widespread practice in our society. This was in full public view. The Lahore High Court is a bustling place. Policemen standing nearby thought it best not to come to her aid. Lawyers get easily provoked these days and are not above thrashing policemen. But no lawyer rushed to the girl’s defence. The bar association, never slow in passing resolutions, has not said a word. What the reaction of their lordships may have been is not known.
Dragged to floor
Ms Parveen’s parents had accused Mr Iqbal of kidnapping her and had filed a case against him at the High Court.
She testified to police that she had married him of her own free will.
Mr Iqbal told the BBC that when the couple arrived at the court on Tuesday to contest the case, his wife’s relatives were waiting and tried to take her away.
As she struggled to free herself they dragged her to the floor, pelted her with bricks and then smashed her head. She died on the pavement.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says 869 women were murdered in “honour killings” in the country last year, although it is believed that the real figure could be higher.