Pregnant Woman in Pakistan Stoned to Death for Choosing Her Own Husband
Farzana Parveen, a 25-year-old Pakistani, was stoned to death on May 27 by her own family outside a courthouse in the Pakistani city of Lahore for marrying the man she loved.
Parveen, who was three months pregnant, was killed while on her way to court to contest an abduction case her family had filed against her husband. The young woman married Mohammad Iqbal after being engaged to him for several years; her family didn’t approve of the union, so they filed an abduction case against Iqubal.
On Tuesday morning, she and her husband were coming to the court to contest those charges.
What happened next is horrifying.
As The Associated Press reports:
Nearly 20 members of Parveen’s extended family, including her father and brothers, had waited outside the building that houses the high court of Lahore. As the couple walked up to the main gate, the relatives fired shots in the air and tried to snatch her from Iqbal, her lawyer said.
When she resisted, her father, brothers and other relatives started beating her, eventually pelting her with bricks from a nearby construction site, according to [lawyer] Mujahid and Iqbal, the slain woman’s husband.
Apparently this all took place in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers.
Parveen’s father was immediately arrested on murder charges, and the police promised to arrest everyone who had participated in this gruesome crime.
This is a step forward, since people who commit violence against women in Pakistan are not always brought to justice.
Where Is Stoning Legal?
Stoning does still exist on the law books in Afghanistan, Iran, sections of Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
And now another nation has joined that list.
The country of Brunei has just brought into force a new penal code that makes stoning legal.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced last year his plan to move Brunei, a predominantly Muslim country, toward adopting Islamic Sharia law. The penal code change makes consensual same-sex sexual encounters a crime punishable by stoning.
As a method of execution, stoning can be traced to Ancient Greece, and has been used to punish those accused of adultery, prostitution, murder and blasphemy. References to stoning can be found in the Torah and in the Old Testament, but it has no explicit mention in the Quran.
While it is horrifying that stoning still exists, what happened on Tuesday in Pakistan was not sanctioned by law; rather it was an extra-judicial killing, a so-called “honor killing” such as are all too common in Pakistan. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in a report last month that some 869 women were murdered in such killings in 2013.
Arranged marriages are the norm among conservative Pakistanis, and hundreds of women are murdered every year in so-called honor killings carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behavior.
Stonings in public settings, however, are extremely rare.
“I have not heard of any such case in which a woman was stoned to death, and the most shameful and worrying thing is that this woman was killed outside a courthouse,” said Zia Awan, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist.
Parveen’s father apparently believed he had done the right thing.
“I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it,” Mujahid, the police investigator, quoted the father as saying.
Misogyny in the U.S.
It would be easy to write about the misogyny in Pakistan, as if it were unique to that country, but the reality is that the U.S. has its own culture of woman-hating.
Last Friday in sunny Santa Barbara, Calif., Elliot Rodger allegedly killed six people and wounded 13 others. Rodger had previously posted a YouTube video in which he said it was “an injustice, a crime” that women have never been attracted to him and that he was going to “punish you all for it” and “slaughter every single blonde slut I see.”
Sadly, as ThinkProgress points out here, gender-based violence and victim-blaming are not unique to Pakistan.
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