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Husband Of Woman Beaten, Shot To Death In Pakistan Killed First Wife

A man whose pregnant wife was stoned to death by angry relatives in Pakistan earlier this week has admitted that he killed his first wife so he could remarry.

It's a disturbing twist to the already disturbing story that we reported on Tuesday of 25-year-old Farzana Parveen, who was bludgeoned to death with bricks by her family after she eloped with Mohammad Iqbal instead of marrying a cousin as her family demanded.

The "honor killing" occurred outside a courtroom in Lahore as Parveen was preparing to testify in defense of Iqbal, whom her father had accused of kidnapping the young woman.

Punjab's Deputy Inspector General for Police Zulfiqar Hameed tells The Associated Press that Iqbal was arrested in 2009 for killing his first wife, Ayesha Bibi, but that the case was later withdrawn after a family member forgave the culprit.

As the AP notes: "Under Pakistani law, those charged with a slaying can see their criminal case dropped if family members of the deceased forgive them or accept so-called 'blood money' offerings over the crime."

In an interview on Thursday with CNN, Iqbal freely acknowledged the murder of Bibi.

"I wanted to send a proposal to Farzana, so I killed my wife," he said.

According to CNN:

"Parveen, 25, and Iqbal eloped and were married January 7 in a court ceremony. He said she liked the color white and that she was a 'beautiful and good wife.'

" 'We were happy,' he said, though they were constantly worried about their safety. ...

"The marriage enraged her family, Iqbal said, and they demanded he pay them 100,000 rupees (about $1,000) to let the couple stay alive."

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday condemned Farzana Parveen's slaying in a statement Thursday, describing it as a "brutal killing" and calling it "totally unacceptable."

He called on authorities in Punjab province to find the culprits.

Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said of the killing: "There is not the faintest vestige of honor in killing a woman in this way."

"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," Pillay said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a private group, says the country has one of the highest rates in the world of violence against women. In a report last month, it said 869 women had been the victims of honor killings in 2013.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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