LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm and disgust over the murder of a young woman, who was beaten to death with bricks by her family, close to the Lahore High Court for marrying without their consent.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the commission said: “The HRCP is appalled by the manner of Farzana Parveen’s death just a few yards from the Lahore High Court on Tuesday. Her only crime was to marry of her own free will, a right that the law recognises for all adult citizens but one where the state has failed to prevent abuse and violence.”
Parveen was killed by around two dozen relatives, including her father and brothers, who attacked her and her husband with batons and bricks. Neither the crowd of onlookers nor policemen present near the place and in the high court intervened.
The woman had come to the court to record her statement in a case lodged after she had married without her family’s approval. The family had reportedly threatened Parveen and her husband on the last hearing on May 12.
The commission further said Parveen’s murder was not a case of sudden provocation as several months had passed after her marriage. The family had obviously come prepared to commit the murder. Parveen’s father had no remorse when he surrendered to police and called the cold-blooded murder an “honour killing”. He stated that he did not regret his actions.
It said such brazen actions were encouraged by the authorities’ failure to fulfil their duty to protect citizens’ lives. The number of women falling victim to the so-called “honour killings” was enough to dispel all illusions about any interest in saving their lives.
In 2013 alone, HRCP recorded killing of nearly 900 women in “honour” crimes from media reports. These women were killed because the state did not confront this feudal practice supported by religiosity and bigotry.
HRCP calls upon the government to unreservedly condemn this shameful crime and make sure that Parveen’s killers do not escape justice by glorifying their dastardly act in the name of honour. The government should also consider starting a public awareness campaign to combat the feudal mentality behind the crime and ensure the killers get no premium for invoking misplaced notions of honour.
WAF: The Women’s Action Forum also condemned the killing of Parveen by her family members in the name of “honour”.
“We demand the killers be brought to justice and the police officers who were silent bystanders be punished for aiding and abetting the crime through their inaction,” a WAF press release read.
It exclaimed people like Parveen’s family members needed to be made an example of and meted out the severest punishment for taking law in their own hands.
Women like Parveen suffered at the hands of a patriarchal system, “which has tied its honour to a woman’s body; where she cannot live a life of her choice and if she claims her right to freedom she is severely punished”.
The Women’s Action Forum demanded the government consider honour crimes as a crime against the state to end impunity currently enjoyed by their perpetrators and enact a legislation against honour killings and take necessary legal actions to stop incidences of gender-based crimes.