We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Lahore 'honour killing': Pakistan PM orders action on Farzana Parveen's death

The Prime Minister of Pakistan has demanded to know why police allegedly did nothing to save her

The Prime Minister of Pakistan has demanded to know why police apparently stood and watched a pregnant woman be beaten and stoned to death by her family for marrying the man she loved without intervening in the brutal attack.

Farzana Parveen, 25, died on Tuesday after members of her family attacked her and her husband with sticks and bricks in broad daylight in front of Lahore’s High Court.

Nawaz Sharif has since asked to know why police did nothing, despite the killing taking place outside of one of the country's top courts, according to his spokesman. 

Mr Sharif had taken notice of the "brutal killing" in the presence of police, his press office said in a statement, adding that a "totally unacceptable" crime had to be dealt with promptly by law.

"I am directing the chief minister to take immediate action and a report must be submitted by this evening to my office," it quoted Mr Sharif as saying.

Her husband Mohammad Iqbal told the BBC: "We were shouting for help [but] nobody listened.

“One of my relatives took off his clothes to capture police attention but they didn't intervene. They watched Farzana being killed and did nothing.”

He said the couple "loved each other" and had married against her families wishes on 7 January.

"We were going to the court with our lawyer Mustafa Kharal, and we were near the court when three dozen people suddenly attacked us," he explained.

"I saw a young woman from my wife's family slapping her. Some people were also beating me... I tried to save my wife's life, but I failed," he said.

Muhammad Aurangzeb, a son of her previous husband claimed Ms Parveen was actually five month pregnant, following reports she was three months into her pregnancy. "Her baby died in her womb," he told Reuters.

pg-23-lahore-reuters.jpgMs Parveen had been engaged to her cousin but married Me Iqbal instead, police said. Her family had registered a kidnapping case against him but she had come to court to argue that she had married of her own free will.

Her father surrendered after the incident and called the murder an "honour killing", according to police official Naseem Butt. The rest of her attackers fled the scene and have not been detained.

"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.

Ms Pavreen's body was buried before dawn in her village near the city of Faisalabad.

Speaking from Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was deeply shocked by the case.

Mustafa Kharal, lawyer of pregnant woman Farzana Parveen who was stoned to death, shows her marriage certificate

"I do not even wish to use the phrase 'honour killing' - there is not the faintest vestige of honour in killing a woman in this way," Ms Pillay said.

"The fact that she was killed on her way to court shows a serious failure by the State to provide security for someone who - given how common such killings are in Pakistan - was obviously at risk."

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. The real number may be far higher, as in many cases the family will not step forward and protect the victim.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has criticised Pakistan for giving legal concessions, light sentences or pardons for people guilty of honour killings.

"Such provisions are particularly pernicious when members of the same family that conducted the killing are given the right to pardon the killers," Ms Pillay added.