After Farzana Parveen, 25 and pregnant, was murdered in broad daylight on May 27, her father and four other relatives were arrested on suspicion of carrying out an honor killing in revenge for her marrying Mohammad Iqbal. However, her sister Khalida Bibi insisted that her family is innocent, and instead pinned the blame on Iqbal and his ‘accomplices’. The claim is the latest bizarre twist in the tragic tale of Farzana’s death, which has thrown the spotlight on the barbaric practice of honor killings.
It emerged earlier this week that Iqbal, 45, had killed his own wife in order to marry Farzana whose family wanted her to marry a cousin. Now Ms. Bibi claims that he was also responsible for her sister’s murder after she tried to flee him and return to her relatives.
‘Mohammad Iqbal and his accomplices killed Farzana, and her father and the rest of her family were wrongly accused of murder . . .I was present at the scene and when she came out of the lawyer’s chamber and as soon as she saw us standing on the other side of the road, she rushed towards us. Iqbal and his accomplices chased her and hit her with bricks,’ she said.
She added that last month, Farzana fled to a women’s shelter in a bid to escape from her husband:’She told me that Iqbal had kidnapped her and forced her into marriage,’ Ms. Bibi said. ‘She feared that Iqbal might kill her like his previous wife, Ayesha.’
Ms. Bibi’s allegations directly contradict all previous reports of how Farzana died, including a remorseless confession made by the victim’s father.
Iqbal claims that the pair married in January after falling in love with each other, but Farzana’s family were angry that she had snubbed the man they chose for her.
Her relatives filed a legal claim against Iqbal – but when the couple left the Lahore high court following a hearing in the case lastTuesday, Farzana’s father and brothers set upon her. According to Iqbal, they began pelting her with batons and bricks as witnesses simply looked on, then left her to die in the street.
Two days after Farzana was killed, Iqbal admitted that he had murdered his first wife in order to marry his second: ‘I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love,’ he said. He also claimed that Farzana’s older sister Rehana had been the victim of an honor killing after she likewise tried to marry a man for love.
The case has prompted worldwide outrage, after it emerged that no one had tried to help Farzana while she was being killed in the centre of Lahore, one of Pakistan’s most cosmopolitan cities.