LAHORE, Pakistan — Farzana Parveen, 25, was murdered by her family. After marrying a man not approved by her family members, she was taken to Lahore High Court and stoned by a mob of more than 28 people, including members of her immediate family. The court, which is treating Parveen’s stoning as an “act of terrorism,” has taken into custody 12 people so far as the case continues to grow.
These honor killings are not uncommon in Pakistan, where they frequently occur in smaller, poorer cities than Lahore. Originating from tribal conditions, these families view marriage as a business deal of sorts, and any breach of that on the woman’s part is considered a transgression. Insufficient dowry payments by the male suitor can also result in the bride’s “honor killing.” More objects than anything else, Pakistani women all too frequently bare unjust consequences.
Businessman and church-goer Robin Zia has considered himself to have lived a “full” life after murdering his sister, Zeenat, with her husband, whom she had married against the family’s will. While discussing her murder, Zia did not see any other possible remedy. “When one’s daughter or sister runs away from home, a man’s mind cannot see beyond that betrayal of trust by the woman,” he said. “And please tell us what could be the alternative solution, in such circumstance?”
According to the Human Rights Commission, more than 869 women were victims last year in the nation of around 180 million people. Women’s rights groups, however, predict this number to be much higher at around 5,000 deaths yearly in such killings; hardly intervened by police in rural villages, who consider the killings “family matters,” this deadly tradition has gone too far.
Parveen’s death has caused uproar around the world, and as the story continues to blossom, it becomes increasingly evident that this is not just a sad story about a 25-year old girl: this is a story about all Pakistani girls.
After her death, Parveen’s husband came forward admitting that he killed his previous wife in order to marry Parveen, for which he paid her family an “insufficient” sum. As the Pakistani court makes efforts to punish all of Parveen’s attackers, women’s rights leaders have spoken up, urging Pakistan to crack down on all honor killing cases.
Women’s rights activist Maliha Zia claims that these acts have a “wider consequence on the safety and well being of all of society.” Many hope Parveen’s case will act as a catalyst for a governmental crackdown regarding honor killings in the future.