A pregnant woman was stoned to death by her own family in front of a Pakistani high court on Tuesday for marrying the man she loved.
Nearly 20 members of the woman’s family, including her father and brothers, attacked her and her husband with batons and bricks in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers in front of the high court of Lahore, the police investigator Rana Mujahid said.
Hundreds of women are murdered every year in Muslim-majorityPakistan in so-called ” honour killings” – carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behaviour – but public stoning is extremely rare.
Mujahid said the woman’s father has been arrested for murder and that police were working to apprehend all those who participated in the “heinous crime”.
Another police officer, Naseem Butt, identified the slain woman as Farzana Parveen, 25, and said she had married Mohammad Iqbal against her family’s wishes after being engaged to him for years.
Her father, Mohammad Azeem, had filed an abduction case against Iqbal, which the couple was contesting, her lawyer Mustafa Kharal said. He confirmed that she was three months pregnant.
Arranged marriages are the norm among conservative Pakistanis, who view marriage for love as a transgression.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a private group, said in a report last month that some 869 women were murdered in “honour killings” in 2013.
But even Pakistanis who have tracked violence against women expressed shock at the brutal and public nature of Tuesday’s killing.
“I have not heard of any such case in which a woman was stoned to death, and the most shameful and worrying thing is that this woman was killed in front of a court,” said Zia Awan, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist.