(RNS) As a crowd watched outside a courthouse, the family of a pregnant Pakistani woman beat her to death Tuesday (May 27) because she married the man she loved instead of her cousin.

Farzana Parveen, 25, was beaten to death on May 27 near the high court in Lahore, Pakistan. She was three months pregnant. Creative Commons photo by Omer Wazir

Farzana Parveen, 25, was beaten to death on May 27 near the high court in Lahore, Pakistan. She was three months pregnant. Creative Commons photo by Omer Wazir

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The 25-year-old woman’s father, brother and spurned fiance were among about a dozen male relatives who used bricks and clubs in the so-called honor killing of Farzana Parveen for disobeying her family’s wishes. She suffered massive head injuries and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Lahore police charged her father, Mohammad Azeem, with murder, and the others were being sought. Azeem told police he helped kill his daughter because she had shamed the family.

“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,” police investigator Rana Mujahid quoted him as saying.

Parveen was attacked as she and her husband, Mohammad Iqbal, arrived at the gates of the Lahore High Court. They went there to dispute charges brought by her father that Iqbal had kidnapped Parveen, who had been engaged to her cousin for several years.

Iqbal, 45, was a widower with five children when he began seeing Parveen, he told the Associated Press.

“We were in love,” he said.

Iqbal alleged her family wanted to extort money from him before following through with the arranged marriage to her cousin.

Every year, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Pakistani women are killed by their families for actual or imagined adultery or premarital sex. Public stoning is rare, however.

Last month, the private Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that 869 women were victims of honor killings in 2013.

Another Pakistani rights group, the Aurat Foundation, estimates that about 1,000 Pakistani women are killed each year by their families. Reuters writes that the “true figure is probably many times higher” because the census is based only on newspaper accounts of honor killings.

The government does not compile such statistics or track the outcome of prosecutions. Convicted killers are sometimes released, because the law allows a family to forgive the killer.

A News Pakistan writer said an honor killing “is most probably the easiest way of killing woman and avoid the capital punishment at the same time.”

The Koran, the Muslim holy book, does not approve of honor killings or other extrajudicial murder, the website Questions About Islam says.

“There is absolutely no justification in Islam for ‘honour killing’ of women or men. Those who commit these crimes can expect hellfire as their punishment, in addition to the wrath and anger of God…. These types of killings are quite simply murder crimes, and should be prosecuted as such. ..

Therefore, although Islam does prescribe 100 lashes for fornication (sexual relations between unmarried people), and death by stoning for adultery (married people who have sexual relations outside of marriage), these punishments are not really meant to be performed as much as they are meant to make these crimes hated in the eyes of the society in order to minimize their occurrence. …”

Last June, a mother and her two daughters in northern Pakistan were shot dead by a male relative who believed they had shamed the family because a video showed the young women laughing outside their home.



  1. Shame on these uncivilized, faithful barbarians for murdering this innocent woman. It is a shame there is no hell for them to go to.

    For shame on the world that we cannot muster the courage
    to shout down these ‘holy’ clowns who make these absurdist religious claims.

    Religion is despicable.

    • “Religion is despicable”

      ‘Their religion’ is undoubtedly despicable if it allows them to do what they did. My religion would condemn them for it.

      It’s not clear to me though that they are claiming religious justification for what they did. Honour killing and violence towards women generally, to me seems to be more related to a misogynistic patriarchal culture rather than religion. Over the border in predominantly Hindu India (the country Pakistan was a part of pre 1947), they are struggling with many of the same problems. These include acid attacks, rape blamed on the morals of the victim, forced abortions of the female fetus or abandonment of female newborns etc. Following the widely publicised gang rape and death of a young woman on a Delhi bus in 2012, many of these issues have begun to be more openly discussed though there is a long way to go. Anyone interested can google the BBC 3 documentary ‘India: A Dangerous place to be a Woman’ for some recent exposure of this. By the way my post is in no way meant to denigrate Hindus or lessen the atrocities occurring in ‘Muslim’ Pakistan. I only mean to point out that the problem in that region, to me at least, seems culturally broader than just any specific religious ideology.

      • @Rashid. M,

        Hello again.

        The word ‘Woman’ means ‘from man’.
        and ‘Female’ means ‘of the male’.

        To use these words to describe the other sex
        is to make a religious statement.
        As if Eve truly came from Adam’s rib! (nonsense)

        The men who kill their daughters and wives in ‘honor’ and ‘shaming’ are enforcing a custom rooted evolution and maintained by religion.

        Patriarchy has roots in evolution. We see it in the primates today. The strongest male apes show dominance over their group. Patriarchy has protective and destructive consequences for everyone in the group – IF YOU ARE AN APE.

        But Patriarchal Authority is beneath human intelligence.
        Yet its perpetuation is fundamentally religious. The delusion is that male dominance is ‘god-given':

        1. Men ‘own’ women as AS God owns mankind.
        2. Men express ownership by forcing obedience AS God forces obedience.
        3. Men are to treat women as toys AS God treats men as His toy.

        The structural argument that a woman cannot be a fully independent person fully responsible for her own behavior (as men are) is a religious concept.
        Honor killings do not happen to men.

        There isn’t the slightest reason a rational person would require an ‘honor’ killing. Religion intrinsically invites these horrors as it perpetuates the evolutionary impulses to patriarchy. Once understood, it is easy to jettison these reflexive behaviors for what they are – primitive delusions of ownership.

        “.. the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (I Corinthians 11:3)

        “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them.” (Quran 4:34)

        “The primary purpose of the Hindu woman was to focus on her husband; he was to be her god.”
        “chastity and purity became a substitute for knowledge.” As the Indian Hindu caste systems developed, “female chastity became a major issue” because “a man’s status was not unrelated to his daughter’s or wife’s chastity.”
        – Katharine Young, Hinduism, Oxford Press

        Believe your religion if you wish (they are all indistinguishable)
        but realize you are playing with the most dangerous, inhuman idea ever invented.

        Even if you do not practice its worst injunctions be prepared that your children, friends and family may not have the ability to disregard these injunctions as intuitively as you have.

        Religion is the primitive interpretation and simplification of complicated evolutionary psychology. Adherence to God claims and absolutist injunctions is fundamentally tribal, misguided, divisive and irrational.

        Religion will destroy the world if we do not abandon it.


        My sources:
        Evolution and patriarchy – http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02734133

        Religious enforcement of patriarchy

        • I suppose you propose Atheism. Refer to Communism, Cambodia, killing fields, Stalin in the Ukraine,1932/33. and Mao in China, selling all the seed so that up to 100 million died of starvation. Or Hitler Fuehrer of a nation ie God. Trying to kill off everyone but the higher races ie none Germanic. to evolve by un natural selection not Natural Selection. See “Origin of species by means of natural selection for preservation of the favored Races in the struggle for life.” Charles Darwin. What an embarrassing tittle in today’s politically correct world and Francis Galton his cousin books on Eugenics. Fanatical Ideologies are the enemy not religion. Atheism probably the worst of them. When people decide they are their own God they make any rules they like and all hell breaks loose.

    • Why does God hate women so much
      that he won’t give them a name?

      ‘Woman’ is only a word that means ‘of Man’.
      ‘Female’ is only a word that means ‘from man’.
      ‘Lady’ is old English for the ‘wife of a Lord’

      Most Gods ever invented have suspiciously failed to give women
      a proper name for their sex which does not first involve the male.

      It is as if God can’t see women
      unless He sees the man first.

      God cannot identify women in any other way.
      Kinda makes you wonder if Gods weren’t just created by MALES?

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