05/28/2014, 00.00
PAKISTAN - ISLAM
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Lahore, honor killing: stoned to death by her family for marrying the man she loved

The violence took place in broad daylight, outside the court : no one intervened, neither police or passers-by. Farzana Iqbal was attending a hearing in defense of her husband accused of kidnapping her and forcing her into marriage. Killed by blows from stones, bricks and sticks. In Pakistan every year about a thousand women are killed by their family, but the real number is much higher .

Lahore ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Pakistani woman was stoned to death by her father and two brothers in broad daylight outside a Lahore court.  It is yet another "honor killing" to punish the woman for having decided to marry the "man she loved " and not the husband imposed by her family.

According to reports from the police, the 30 year-old Farzana Iqbal died on the spot after being hit several times by stones, bricks and sticks; agents have so far arrested the woman's father; but her brother and ex-boyfriend - a cousin, also part of the attack - are still free.

The brutal violence took place yesterday morning at the entrance to the High Court , where a hearing was scheduled in which the woman intended to defend her husband Muhammad Iqbal from the charge of kidnapping and forcing her into marriage brought by her family. Farzana had wanted to declare to the courts that she had contracted the marriage - which took place about a month ago - of her own free will, after an engagement of several years.

There were dozens of relatives waiting for her outside the courtroom, who launched an attack against the woman: a brother tried to shoot her, but missed, then the attack continued with sticks and stones. The husband instead managed to escape by hiding in a safe place. Several officers and police, assigned to Court security of the were present at the time of the attack , which took place in broad daylight, but did not intervene.

Pakistani analysts and experts point out that Farzana's story is "a common one". It is common for thousands of women like her to become victims of the same fate every year in the country, killed by relatives in disputed " honor killings " for events related to forced marriages.  It is however unique in so far as it took place in broad day light and not behind the closed doors of the family home. According to the Aurat Foundation activist group the official victims from honour killings are about one thousand, but the real figure is far higher .

With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia.

About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent).

In many areas of the country an extreme and radical vision of religion exists, based on sharia (Islamic law ); women in some cases are not even considered human beings, but are subject to the will of the men of the family and forced into marriages, in some cases even if they are still minors.

 

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