ISLAMABAD: Members of civil society and human rights organisations have expressed concern over the murder of a pregnant woman by her relatives for marrying the man of her choice.

They demanded that people involved in the incident be arrested and punished according to law.

The woman was killed by around two dozen of her relatives, including her father and brothers, who attacked her and her husband outside the Lahore High Court on May 27. The attackers escaped after committing the crime.

In a statement issued here, Khawar Mumtaz, chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women, and Fauzia Viqar, chairperson of the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, expressed shock and grief at the incident.

The incident, they said, pointed to the impunity with which killings in the name of honour are occurring in the country. A statement issued by the Aurat Foundation said the victim had gone to the court to record her statement in a case lodged by her family after she had married of her own free will. The incident was a clear example of a planned attack as several months had passed since her marriage.

“Deceased woman’s father, presently in the custody of police, justified the cold-blooded murder as ‘honour killing’ and said that he did not regret what happened. The incident highlights the impunity with which killings in the name of honour are occurring throughout the country,” the statement said.

It said that major `lacunas’ in the Honour Killings Act 2004 had rendered the law useless as it fails to provide protection to victims and punishment for the perpetrators and supporters of the heinous crime.

Members of civil society have asked the government to take immediate action and ensure that culprits are arrested and convicted.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2014

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