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Pakistan court extends father's custody in bludgeoning case

LAHORE - A Pakistani court Saturday extended custody of the father of a woman bludgeoned to death in public for marrying a man she loved, police said, giving them more time to investigate the crime.


Farzana Parveen died after she was set upon by more than two dozen attackers armed with bricks outside Lahore's High Court on Tuesday, including numerous relatives, for marrying against her family's wishes. Parveen's father Mohammad Azeem was detained at the scene of the attack. Four others, including an uncle, two of her cousins, and a driver were arrested late Thursday.


"The court has given a seven-days remand of Mohammad Azeem, the father of the murdered girl," senior police offiicial Omer Riaz Cheema told AFP. Parveen's husband Mohammad 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".


Iqbal was spared jail for the murder of his first wife because his sons persuaded her family to pardon him under Pakistan's blood-money laws. These allow a victim's family to forgive the murderer, which makes prosecuting so-called "honour" cases difficult as the killer is usually a relative.


Parveen was at court to testify in Iqbal's defence when she was killed, after he was accused by her relatives of kidnapping her and forcing her into marriage. Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year in the name of defending family "honour". But the brazen, brutal nature of Parveen's killing, in broad daylight in the centre of Pakistan's second largest city, has triggered outrage around the world.


Police were apparently at the scene, but did not stop the mob killing Parveen, who was three months pregnant. A senior officer named Hameed defended his men's actions, saying one had snatched a gun from an attacker, but claimed the mob was too large for police to stop the killing. Officers made the later arrests after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demanded immediate action on the case.


Last year, 869 women died in so-called "honour killings", according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

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