A Pakistani woman who married a man she loved was punished on Tuesday by her family, who beat her to death as a crowd watched outside a courthouse, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
The 25-year-old pregnant woman’s father, brother and spurned fiancé were among about a dozen male relatives who used bricks and clubs in the killing of Farzana Parveen for disobeying her family’s wishes.
She suffered massive head injuries and was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to AP.
Lahore police charged her father, Mohammad Azeem, with murder, and the others were being sought. Azeem told police he helped kill his daughter because she had shamed the family.
“I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it,” police investigator Rana Mujahid quoted him as saying.
Parveen was attacked as she and her husband, Mohammad Iqbal, arrived at the gates of the Lahore High Court. They went there to dispute charges brought by her father that Iqbal had kidnapped Parveen, who had been engaged to her cousin for several years.
Iqbal, 45, was a widower with five children when he began seeing Parveen, he told AP.
“We were in love,” he said.
Iqbal alleged her family wanted to extort money from him before following through with the arranged marriage to her cousin.
Tuesday’s murder is just the latest example of “honor killing”, when a woman is murdered by family members who believe she has brought shame or dishonor upon her family. These murders are a common occurrence not just in Pakistan, but throughout the Muslim world.
Last month, the private Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that 869 women were victims of honor killings in 2013, reported AP.
Another Pakistani rights group, the Aurat Foundation, estimates that about 1,000 Pakistani women are killed each year by their families.
The phenomenon of honor killing is also prevalent in the Palestinian Authority (PA), both in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria as well as in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
A senior PA official said in February that there had been a rise of over 100% in the number of “honor killings” in 2013 compared to the previous year.
The UN organization for women recently decried the rising rates of violence against women in the PA, highlighting that the “worrying increase in the rate of femicide, from 13 in 2012 to 28 in 2013, demonstrates a widespread sense of impunity in killing women.”