The husband of a pregnant woman who was stoned to death by her family outside of Lahore’s High Court has said she was killed because the couple had married for love.
Police official Naseem Butt said 20 members of Farzana Parveen's family attacked her and her husband with sticks and bricks in broad daylight on Tuesday before a crowd of onlookers.
As the couple walked up to the main gate, the relatives fired shots in the air and tried to snatch her from Ms Parveen, her lawyer said. When she resisted, her father, brothers and other relatives started beating her, eventually pelting her with bricks from a nearby construction site.
Ms Parveen, who was understood to be three months pregnant, died from severe head injuries. Her husband escaped, The Times of India has reported.
Mr Butt said the 25-year-old had married Mohammad Iqbal while she was engaged to her cousin. She had been waiting for the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore to open when the attack took place.
"We were in love," Mr Iqbal told the Associated Press. He said he had formed a relationship with her after the death of his first wife.
Her lawyer, Mustafa Kharal, said her father had filed an abduction case against her husband, which the couple was contesting.
"I simply took her to court and registered a marriage," infuriating the family, Mr Iqbal explained.
Her father surrendered after the incident and called the murder an "honour killing", Mr Butt said.
"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," the father was quoted as saying by police.
The incident has shocked Pakistan, with Zia Awan, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist, describing it as “shameful”.
"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 outside a courthouse.”
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a private group, said in a report last month that some 869 women were murdered in honor killings in 2013. The real number may be far higher, as in many cases the family will not step forward and protect the victim.