Charges were brought against Farzana’s husband, Mohammad Iqbal, who was accused by her family of kidnapping her and forcing her into marriage. Farzana was on her way to testify in court that she loved her husband and married him willingly.
As the couple arrived at the Lahore, Pakistan, courthouse on Tuesday, May 27, a crowd gathered around to watch as the pregnant Farzana was stoned with bricks and clubbed to death by several of her male relatives, including her own father and brothers. She died of severe head injuries.
Mohammad Iqbal, right, husband of Farzana Parveen, 25, sits in an ambulance next to the body of his pregnant wife who was stoned to death by her own family in Lahore, Pakistan.(Photo: K.M. Chaudary, AP)
I’m glad I wasn’t born in a place like Pakistan, where an average of 1000 women are murdered every year at the hands of the men in their families defending their “family honor.” What is even more appalling is the fact that these killings are tolerated and even dismissed by the courts and government of Pakistan. If men are arrested and tried for these crimes, even if they are found guilty, punishments are often extremely light or non-existent.
In fact, the way the Pakistani system is set up with regard to murder or accidental deaths, by law the victim’s family can forgive the killers. This opens up the world of honor killings to abuse. “The law allows (the family) to nominate someone to do the murder, then forgive him,” in essence allowing the murderers to get away with murder. Honor killings usually specifically target women or homosexuals. The broad and flimsy reasons given to justify honor killings range from imagined or real sexual encounters, rape victims, divorce even if the wife is being abused, refusing arranged marriages, to just merely appearing to enjoy oneself in public.
What kind of a father kills his own daughter because he feels insulted by her choice of husband? What kind of father would rather kill his own daughter than see her happily married to a man of her own choosing? Don’t we all, as parents, really only want our children to be happy? What is wrong with a society that places “perceived family honor” over the happiness or freedom of a woman to live her own life and make her own choices?
On a final note, Islam denounces honor killings. It is a patriarchal and cultural practice with no base in religion.
Let me say it again: I AM GLAD I WAS NOT BORN A PAKISTANI WOMAN!