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Woman stoned to death outside Lahore High Court

May 27, 2014
Police said 25-year-old Farzana Iqbal was stoned to death by her family for marrying the man she loved.
Police said 25-year-old Farzana Iqbal was stoned to death by her family for marrying the man she loved.

LAHORE: A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death by her family outside the Lahore High Court on Tuesday in a so-called “honour” killing for marrying the man she loved, police said.

Farzana Iqbal was waiting for the High Court in Lahore to open when a group of around dozen men began attacking her with bricks, said Umer Cheema, a senior police officer.

Her father, two brothers and former fiance were among the attackers, he said. Iqbal suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead in hospital, police said.

All the suspects except her father escaped. He admitted killing his daughter, Cheema said, and explained it was a matter of honour.

Cheema said Farzana had been engaged to her cousin but married another man. Her family registered a kidnapping case against him but Farzana had come to court to argue that she had married of her own free will, he said.

Arranged marriages are the norm among conservative Pakistanis, who view marriage for love as a transgression.

Around 1,000 Pakistani women are killed every year by their families in honour killings, according to Pakistani rights group the Aurat Foundation.

The true figure is probably many times higher since the Aurat Foundation only compiles figures from newspaper reports. The government does not compile national statistics.

Campaigners say few cases come to court, and those that do can take years to be heard. No one tracks how many cases are successfully prosecuted.

Even those that do result in a conviction may end with the killers walking free. Pakistani law allows a victim's family to forgive their killer.

But in honour killings, most of the time the women’s killers are her family, said Wasim Wagha of the Aurat Foundation. The law allows them to nominate someone to carry out the murder, then forgive him.

“This is a huge flaw in the law,” he said. “We are really struggling on this issue.”