A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death and killed by her family outside a high court in the Pakistani city of Lahore, for marrying the man she fell in love with, according to police and a lawyer. Police said about 20 members of the family started attacking Farzana Parveen, and her husband Mohammad Iqbal, with sticks and bricks as they waited for the high court to open on Tuesday afternoon.
The photo below, taken by Mohammad Tahir of Reuters, shows Pakistani police officers trying to gather evidence on the killing, as Parveen’s body lies on the ground, with people surrounding the scene. The Associated Press said family members attacked the couple before a crowd of onlookers in front of the court.
According to the police, everyone who was involved in the killing escaped except the girl’s father, who admitted killing his daughter and said he did it for honor. Pakistani families who have been involved in such killings say a woman marrying a man without their permission is seen as a breach of honor of the family. To many, that translates as the reason to seek revenge, by killing their own children.
Although the Pakistani government itself does not collect any data — and it is illegal to carry out such killings — several hundred women are said to be killed in honor killings every year in Pakistan. In the latest annual report released (PDF) by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 869 women were killed in the name of honor in 2013.
Earlier this year, the BBC traveled to a village in northwestern Pakistan to tell the story of a young woman who survived an honor killing and has been publicly speaking about it since. As the story notes, such killings are difficult to prove or to prosecute because of two reasons: first, the lack of witnesses to the crime, and second, lack of motivation for the police to pursue the suspects, regardless of the evidence.
But what happened in Lahore on Tuesday seems different. It wasn’t in a remote village in Pakistan, neither was it in the middle of the night. Parveen and her husband were killed in broad daylight, in the presence of several bystanders, in front of the top court in the second largest city in Pakistan.