According to reports today, a Pakistani woman was publicly stoned to death by multiple family members, including the cousin who was her estranged fiancee, because she left an arranged marriage to marry a man of her own choice, Mohammad Iqbal.
In the City of Lahore, a woman identified as Farzana Parveen, 25, and her husband had been waiting to appear in court to testify against filings from her own family that she had been abducted by Mr. Iqbal. The attack took place just outside the court building in the middle of the day on May 27. It’s unclear at this time if Mr. Iqbal survived the brutal attack with sticks and bricks. However, Parveen was later pronounced dead after being treated at a nearby hospital, and reports confirm she was 3-months pregnant. Police told the Independent that more than 19 family members of Farzana Parveen’s family attacked the couple with “sticks and bricks in broad daylight on Tuesday before a crowd of onlookers.”
Unfortunately hundreds, maybe thousands of women are killed each year overseas due to domestic violence. Sadly, some believe violence against women is tied to a vicious cultural Pakistani belief. According to news reports on May 21, a Pakistani man killed his wife by beating her with a stick, because she made him dinner that he didn’t request. His own defense attorney, Julie Clark, promoted this idea, stating that “he comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife … he culturally believed he had the right to hit his his wife and discipline his wife.”.
Furthermore Pakistani women aren’t just killed for disobeying orders from men; last year it was also reported that more than 55 women in the country were killed for giving birth to a baby girl, according to the Tribune. During a symposium hosted by the All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) to help stop violence against women, one of the speakers, Mr. Rehman, said a country can’t be looked at as an “ethical society” if women are “killed for giving birth to baby girls.”
Last year, the Tribune reported that from 2012 to 2013, violence against Pakistani women included: “90 acid attacks on women, 72 cases of other types of burning, 491 cases of domestic violence, 344 reports of rape, and 835 cases of violence.” With these types of unethical acts happening, Rehman believes more action must be taken.
Most of the attackers who stoned the Pakistani woman to death today fled the scene, but even her father, who turned himself in, may not face any punishment. Pakistani laws still do nothing to help curtail violence against women. In fact, even if there is a conviction, typically the perpetrators are not sentenced to death, or given time in prison. Under the law “if a victim’s family forgives the killers,” they can be charged with nothing, according to Wasim Wagha, who spoke with Reuters. Wagha believes this is essentially a loophole because a family could ask someone to kill for them, and then forgive them. He said, “this is a huge flaw in the law and we are really struggling on this issue.” However, with the aforementioned killings and violence against Pakistani women, it appears the issues go much deeper than a “flawed law,” and instead reflect a societal shift Pakistani women are no doubt hoping will emerge.