It was the most agonising – not to mention barbaric – of deaths. Last week, Farzaran Parveen, 25, was stoned to death by 20 members of her family outside a court in Lahore, Pakistan. Her crime? Marrying a man they didn’t approve of. Even more sickeningly, Farzaran was three-months pregnant.
‘The most painful thing is that nobody came forward to save my wife’, says her husband Mohammed Iqbal, who was also attacked with stones and bricks by Farzaran’s family. She had refused to marry the cousin her family had selected for her and instead eloped with Mohammed.
Farzaran’s death, which has made headlines round the world, has highlighted the issue of so-called ‘honour’ killings. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 869 women were killed by their families last year for marrying against their wishes. Many more are thought to have gone unreported.
The murder of Farzaran has also shocked many in Pakistan itself for being carried out so publicly. They are usually carried out by family members in private.
Foreign Secretary William Hague has added his voice to the global outcry, saying, ‘[there is] absolutely no honour in honour killings.’ He added, ‘I hope this will spark a wider debate about how to confront and end the intolerable culture of violence against women in many parts of the world.’
And the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is currently in Pakistan, also condemned the ‘revolting lynching’.
For more information, visit the Honour Based Violence Awareness Network.