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 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 fiancé were among the attackers, he said. The victim suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead in hospital.
All the suspects except her father escaped. He admitted killing his daughter, Cheema said, and explained it was a matter of ‘honour.’ Many families think a woman marrying her own choice of man brings ‘dishonour’ on the family. The victim woman had been engaged to her cousin but married another man, the police said.
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. Around 1,000 women are killed every year by their families in the name of ‘honour,’ according to 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. The local law allows a victim's family to forgive their killer. 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 do the murder, then forgive him.
“This is a huge flaw in the law,” he said. “We are really struggling on this issue.”