National News

Pregnant woman stoned to death in Pakistan buried

By Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD - A pregnant Pakistani woman beaten and stoned to death by her own family for marrying against their wishes was buried before dawn Wednesday as police pressed a manhunt for those who took part in the so-called "honour killing" outside a courthouse in Lahore.

Her father was arrested shortly after the killing on Tuesday, and confessed to having killed his daughter because she had married a man of her choice, defying the family's wishes and conservative norms in the Muslim-majority country.

Farzana Parveen, 25, was buried in the presence of some 100 mourners from her husband's family at around 2 a.m. in a village graveyard in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province, her husband Mohammad Iqbal said.

He said his family had chosen to bury her at night because of the gruesome state of her remains.

Iqbal, 45, said they had gone to the high court in Lahore on Tuesday to contest a criminal complaint filed against him by his father-in-law, Mohammad Azeem, who accused him of abducting his daughter. The couple was attacked as they approached the courthouse.

Authorities say the father described the attack as an "honour killing," a term used for the murder of women accused of violating the sexual mores of conservative societies.

"We loved each other. We got married on January 7, 2014 and my wife was three months' pregnant," Iqbal told The Associated Press.

"My wife wanted to tell the court that I had not kidnapped her. We were going to the court with our lawyer Mustafa Kharal, and we were near the court when three dozen people suddenly attacked us," he said in a telephone interview from his village.

He said the attackers included his wife's father, two brothers and a woman.

"I saw a young woman from my wife's family slapping her. Some people were also beating me... I tried to save my wife's life, but I failed," he said.

Arranged marriages are the norm among many conservative Pakistanis, and hundreds of women are murdered every year in so-called honour killings carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behaviour.

However, stoning in public settings is extremely rare.

Police investigator Rana Absar said Azeem surrendered hours after the attack and was in custody, and that police were searching for the others accused of taking part in the killing.

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