Another Pakistani “honor killing” has resulted in a woman being stoned to death by a group of men that included her father and brothers.
Reuters reports the 25-year-old woman was the victim of an “honor killing” which took place in broad daylight in front of one of Pakistan’s top courts. She apparently committed what some in Pakistan see as a sin; marrying the one she loved, according to police.
The Pakistani woman, Farzana Iqbal, was waiting for the Pakistan High Court to open. Her engagement to her cousin had been arranged by her family but Farzana instead married another guy – one that she actually loved. Her family didn’t approve of this, and in an effort to derail the marriage, accused her new husband of kidnapping her.
So off she went to the Pakistan court, located in the city of Lahore, to set things straight and testify that her marriage to the person she loved was actually her own decision.
Whether or not the Pakistani justices would’ve listened and/or honored her testimony will never be known because a pack of about 12 Pakistani men (other reports say up to 20 and that the woman was pregnant) attacked her with bricks in front of the courthouse, brutally stoning to death yet another Pakistani woman.
According to the Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani rights group, approximately 1,000 Pakistani women are victims of such “honor killings” every year, the murders usually carried out by their families. The actual number of Pakistani women stoned to death is probably much higher since the Aurat Foundation’s figures are based solely on newspaper reports. The Pakistani government reportedly does not keep national statistics.
For Farzana, it was her family that attacked; her father, two brothers and ex-fiance-cousin among those pelting her to death – Another innocent Pakistani woman absorbing severe head injuries from an obviously deranged segment of society.
Adding insult to injury, all of the murderers, except her father, escaped with their blood-stained hands off into the Pakistani afternoon. Like many Pakistani families, the father believes a woman choosing her own husband brings dishonor to the family, and while admitting to the murder of his daughter, he explained that it was indeed “a matter of honor.”
But how is this possible? What part of a culture or religion could possibly justify stoning a woman to death, let alone one’s own daughter with the aid of other men?
An article on the Middle East Forum sheds some light on this question of honor killing:
“An honor killing is defined as the murder of a girl or woman who has allegedly committed an act that has shamed and embarrassed her family. For the family to show its community that it has reasserted control, the woman is killed. Thus, “harm to reputation” is a partial or complete defense to murder. No passage in the Koran discusses honor killings, but Muslim clerics justify them and secular Muslims either do not punish them or pass laws to mitigate punishment for them. With this, Muslims make honor killings a part of Islam.”
“Honor killings are justified under Islam in some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia. For example, tenth-grade textbooks teach Saudi children that it is permissible to kill adulterers. In April 2008, a girl was killed by her father for talking to a boy on Facebook, an online social networking website. A leading Saudi cleric, Sheikh Ali al-Maliki, was outraged that girls had access to such websites where they could post pictures of themselves and otherwise “behave badly,” but showed no concern over the girl actually killed.”
Making matters even worse, few “honor killing” cases make it to court, and the ones that do drag on for years. As for any Pakistani honor killing cases that actually result in someone being prosecuted, usually the murderer walks free, and Pakistani law allows the family of the victim to forgive the murderer.
How much longer will “honor” killing and/or stoning a woman to death be acceptable in Pakistan and other countries?