LAHORE Pakistan - A Pakistani woman who survived an attack by relatives who tried to kill her for marrying for love told Reuters on Friday that she feared for her life and appealed for protection.
Saba Maqsood, 18, survived being shot and thrown in a canal by her family on Thursday, weeks after the "honour killing" of another woman in Pakistan drew worldwide condemnation.
Maqsood angered her family by marrying the man of her choice a few days ago in the Punjabi city of Gujranwala - an act of defiance in a conservative part of Pakistan where women are expected to agree to arranged marriages.
"Even though police provided me with security, I fear that my family will try to kill me and my husband," Maqsood, still weak after being shot twice in the cheek and right hand, told Reuters by telephone from her hospital bed.
"I appeal to the chief minister and authorities to take serious notice of this attack on me and take necessary action for our security."
Police said Maqsood was attacked and shot by her father, uncle, brother and aunt, and thrown into the waterway in the city of Hafizabad in Punjab province on Thursday.
Her relatives quickly fled the scene, but after minutes in the water Maqsood regained consciousness and managed to struggle to the bank, where two passers-by helped her.
Police have pledged to protect Maqsood.
"We have moved Saba to a private room in the hospital and deployed female and male police officers for her security," said regional police officer Ali Akbar.
"I have contacted her husband Qaiser but he is reluctant to come to the hospital because he is afraid of being attacked."
Police have raided Maqsood's home but all the suspects appear to have vanished, police said.
Conservative Pakistani families believe it is dishonourable for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband and are prepared to kill their female relatives to protect their honour.
Last month, a Pakistani woman called Farzana Iqbal was attacked and killed by suspected family members because she had married the man she loved.
The case drew intense global attention, including condemnation from the United Nations, partly because it happened in broad daylight in the centre of the city of Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital.