Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — A pregnant woman is beaten to death by her relatives outside a court building. Her crime? To elope with the man she loved rather than marry the groom chosen by her family.
The terrible fate of Farzana Parveen, 25, is one shared by all too many women in Pakistan and elsewhere.
She was killed in the name of “honor,” on the grounds her actions had brought shame on her family.
“I do not even wish to use the phrase ‘honour killing’: there is not the faintest vestige of honour in killing a woman in this way,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement condemning the killing.
Pillay called on Pakistan’s government to work harder to stop such killings and protect women from violence.
According to a report published in April by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 869 women in the country were the victims of honor killings last year. And activists say the true number may be much higher.
Parveen’s brutal killing is all the more shocking because it was so public.
She was beaten to death with bricks close to the high court in the eastern city of Lahore by a group of about 20 people, including her brothers, father and cousin, police said.
One family member made a noose of rough cloth around her neck while her brothers smashed bricks into her skull, said Mushtaq Ahmed, a police official, citing the preliminary report into the killing. She was three months pregnant, he said.
So-called honor killings often originate from tribal traditions in Pakistan, but are not a part of Islam. Although they’re common in rural areas, Tuesday’s attack in a public area of a big city was unusual.