ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The postmortem of a Pakistani woman killed for marrying the man she loved has established that she was five months pregnant, her stepson told Reuters on Wednesday.
Farzana Iqbal, 25, was stoned to death by her family outside one of Pakistan’s top courts in the city of Lahore on Tuesday in a so-called “honor” killing.
“Her baby died in her womb,” said Muhammad Aurangzeb, a son of her previous husband.
Honor killings are common in Pakistan, where women are often denied their basic rights. But the brutality of this case caused outrage around the world.
Many Pakistani families think it dishonorable for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband.
Police said her father, two brothers and a former fiance were among the attackers. She suffered severe head injuries when they surrounded her and threw bricks at her, and was pronounced dead in hospital.
Although she was pregnant, police only registered the case as one of a single murder, Aurangzeb said. Police were not available for comment. All the suspects except her father escaped.
Iqbal had been engaged to her cousin but married another man, police said. Her family had registered a kidnapping case against him and she had come to court to argue that she had married of her own free will.
She was buried in her village near the city of Faisalabad.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in Geneva she was deeply shocked by the case.
“I do not even wish to use the phrase ‘honor killing’: there is not the faintest vestige of honor in killing a woman in this way,” Pillay said in a statement.
“The fact that she was killed on her way to court shows a serious failure by the State to provide security for someone who – given how common such killings are in Pakistan - was obviously at risk.”
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 869 women were murdered in “honor killings” in the country last year, but the real figure could be higher, the statement said.
“People who carry out ‘honor crimes’ are rarely prosecuted, and even when they are, they often receive absurdly light sentences, considering they have committed pre-meditated murder,” Pillay said.
“This is unacceptable, and it is clearly both the State’s and the judiciary’s responsibility to work seriously to deter such crimes, and ensure that people who commit them are brought to justice.”
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has criticized Pakistan for giving legal concessions, light sentences or pardons for people guilty of honor killings.
“Such provisions are particularly pernicious when members of the same family that conducted the killing are given the right to pardon the killers,” Pillay said.
Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari; Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Robin Pomeroy