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Pak PM Sharif demands 'immediate action' over Pak Barbarianism

( May 30, 2014, Islamabad, Sri Lanka Guardian) Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered officers to take "immediate action" over the stoning of a pregnant woman outside the nation's top court.

Farzana Parveen, 25, was attacked on Tuesday, police said, because she had married the man she loved.

Her husband, Muhammed Iqbal, said that police did nothing during the 15 minutes the violence lasted outside Lahore High Court.

"I begged them to help us but they said, this is not our duty," Mr Iqbal said.

"I took off my shirt (to be humble) and begged them to save her."

In parts of Pakistan, a largely Muslim nation of 180 million people, women are expected to agree to arranged marriages and refusal can result in an "honour killing".

Many Pakistani families think it dishonourable for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband.

Mr Sharif had taken notice of the "brutal killing" in the presence of police, his press office said in a statement, adding that a "totally unacceptable" crime had to be dealt with promptly by law.

"I am directing the chief minister to take immediate action and a report must be submitted by this evening to my office," the statement said, quoting Mr Sharif.

Police initially said Ms Parveen had been stoned, but her husband said that relatives had swung bricks, not thrown them.

All the suspects, except the father, who has been detained, have disappeared.

Honour killing victim cried 'don't kill me'

A police officer on Tuesday quoted the father as saying it had been an honour killing.

The 25-year-old had offended her family by marrying Mr Iqbal instead of a cousin selected for her.

Police said her father, two brothers and a former fiance were among the attackers.

Muhammad Aurangzeb, Ms Parveen's 20-year-old stepson, described how one relative had tried to shoot her, then grabbed her headscarf, causing her to fall over.

While a member of Ms Parveen's party wrestled the gun away, a female cousin grabbed a brick and hit her with it, he said.

"She was screaming and crying 'don't kill me, we will give you money'," Mr Iqbal said.

He said he tried to save her but the mob of more than 20 beat him back.

At one point, six people were beating her with bricks as she screamed, he said, and he and his stepson begged police to help.

The attack happened near the gate of the heavily guarded court, the two men said, on one of the busiest roads in Lahore.

The couple had been due to testify there that their marriage was genuine in response to a false charge of kidnapping brought by Ms Parveen's family.

It was not the first time her family had tried to kill the woman, said her lawyer, Rai Ghulan Mustafa.

On May 12, seven of her relatives had tried to force their way into his office, where she was sitting, he said, but his colleagues had fought them off.

Later they attacked her near a police station.

Officers intervened and held the attackers for an hour before releasing them without charge, he said.

"She was afraid of being killed," her lawyer said.

Victim's husband murdered first wife

Mr Iqbal admitted on Thursday to murdering his first wife in a twist to a story that has shocked rights activists.

"I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love," he said.

Mr Iqbal said he had strangled his first wife.

He said he was spared a prison sentence because his son, who alerted police to the murder, later forgave him under Pakistan's controversial blood-money laws.

After admitting to the murder, Mr Iqbal switched off his phone and did not respond to further calls.

Rights groups have expressed fears the same blood-money laws that spared Farzana Parveen's husband could be used to pardon her attackers.

A senior police officer investigating the killing of Ms Parveen, Zulfiqar Hameed, said police would be filing a report to the government later on Thursday detailing Mr Iqbal's past.

"Iqbal was a notorious character and he had murdered his first wife six years ago," Mr Hameed said.

"A police case was lodged against him and he was on the run for many weeks.

"He was arrested and later released after a compromise with his family."

'Appaling' killing met with silence by media, politicians

The case is the latest honour killing in Pakistan that has caused international outrage.

"I do not even wish to use the phrase honour killing," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement in Geneva.

"There is not the faintest vestige of honour in killing a woman in this way."

But for two days, the attack met with silence from Pakistani officials. Most national media outlets gave little attention to the story.

Women have been mutilated and killed for wearing jeans, looking out of windows, singing or giving birth to girls.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said there were 869 such attacks reported in the media last year - several a day.


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