Dark tale of love and murder in rural heartland

* Four more accused arrested in woman bludgeoning case * Iqbal says he will not reconcile; wants to see killers ‘die in pain’

MOZA SIAL/CHAK 367: A man whose pregnant wife was bludgeoned to death by angry family members who did not approve of the marriage fondly recalled a brief life together with the woman he fell in love with at first sight.
Farzana Iqbal, 25, was murdered by a group of assailants including her father on Tuesday, witnesses and police said, because she fell in love with and married Iqbal in January instead of a cousin they had selected for her.
“She was a very happy person. And she was the best wife anyone could ask for,” Iqbal, 45, told Reuters in his mud-brick home in the village of Moza Sial near Faisalabad district.
“She never lied. She never broke her promises. That’s what I loved and respected the most about her. She never let me down. But I let her down. It was my duty to save her and I let her down.”
The dark tale of love, betrayal and murder has stunned people around the world, with the United Nations condemning Farzana’s killing and a major international newspaper running a Reuters photograph of the grisly aftermath of the attack on its front page.
Police investigating the murder have arrested four men, a senior officer said Friday, as her husband said he wanted her killers to “die in pain”.
Iqbal - who Thursday admitted he had strangled his first wife out of love for Parveen - told AFP he wanted to see her attackers ‘killed with bricks’.
“Special investigation teams set up by police arrested four more people including an uncle and two cousins of the slain woman and a driver on Thursday night,” senior police official Zulfiqar Hameed told AFP on Friday.
On Friday in Chak 367, the tiny, dusty hamlet where he lives Iqbal said he regretted the earlier killing.
“I was in love with Farzana and one day, when I was going to see her, my first wife blocked my way which infuriated me,” he told AFP.
“I did not intend to kill her. I regret that she died and it was my loss.”
“I got angry. We were fighting, the kind of fights husband and wife often have. But I held her by the neck and just meant to push her but she died,” he said.
He was spared jail because his sons persuaded his dead wife’s family to pardon him under blood-money laws.
But Iqbal, a farmer, said he wanted no such mercy for the killers of Parveen.
“Those who killed my wife with bricks should also be killed with bricks in front of me,” he said.
“I will be happy if they die in pain. I will not reconcile and will fight for justice.”
On Tuesday, Farzana, her husband and other family members were attacked on their way to Lahore High Court, where they had planned to argue that their marriage was genuine in response to a charge of kidnapping brought by Farzana’s family.
“During the scuffle, one unknown accused brought out a pistol and fired a shot which reportedly ... hit Farzana near the ankle,” said a Lahore police source.
“At the same time, the father, Azeem, hit Farzana with a brick taken from the roadside, while Zahid, the brother, and Mazhar Iqbal, the cousin, also joined in. Farzana died on the spot.”
Umer Cheema, a police official in Lahore, told Reuters her autopsy showed that Farzana was shot in the shin, adding that police had arrested four people including her uncle Attaullah and her father.
A police source said Farzana had actually been married at the time of her wedding to Iqbal, but told the families she was engaged. Iqbal denied the previous marriage, saying his late wife’s family used the accusation to build a case against him.
Iqbal cried as he prayed at the freshly dug grave of his wife. Leaves and rose petals were strewn over the earth, and the petals stained the back of his white shirt red.

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