A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death by her family outside one of Pakistan’s top courts on Tuesday in an honour killing for marrying the man she loved, authorities said.
Farzana Iqbal was waiting for the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore to open when a gang of about dozen men began attacking her with bricks.
Among the attackers were her father, two brothers and former fiance. She suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
All the suspects, except her father, had managed to escape. He admitted killing his daughter and explained that it was a matter of honour. Many Pakistani families believe that a woman marrying a man of her choice brings dishonour upon the family.
The deceased had been engaged to her cousin but married another man instead. Her family filed a kidnapping case against him but Iqbal had come to court to argue that she had married the man out of her own free will.
Around 1,000 Pakistani women are killed yearly by their families in honour killings, according to Pakistani rights group, Aurat Foundation. This figure is probably way higher as the Aurat Foundation only gathers figures from newspaper reports.
According to campaigners, only very few cases come to court, and those that do can take years to be heard.
Even if a conviction is successful, the killers may end up walking free. Pakistani law allows a victim’s family to forgive their killer.
However, in honour killings, usually the women’s killers are her family. The law allows them to nominate someone to do the murder, then forgive the killer.