Death to love: The dark tale behind Farzana's 'honour killing' in Pakistan

Death to love: The dark tale behind Farzana's 'honour killing' in Pakistan

Muhammad Iqbal, whose wife Farzana was bludgeoned to death by family members who disapproved of their marriage, fondly recalls the woman he fell in love with at first sight - but in Pakistan, nothing is ever that simple, not even love.

Farzana Iqbal (nee Parveen), 25, was murdered by a group of assailants including her father on May 27, witnesses and police said, because she fell in love with and married Muhammed Iqbal in January instead of a cousin they had selected for her.

"She was a very happy person. And she was the best wife anyone could ask for," said Iqbal, 45, in his mud-brick home in the village of Moza Sial in central Pakistan, 240km west of Lahore. "She never lied. She never broke her promises. That's what I loved and respected the most about her. She never let me down. But I let her down. It was my duty to save her and I let her down," the widower lamented.

The dark tale of love, betrayal and murder has stunned people around the world, with the United Nations condemning Farzana's killing and a major international newspaper running a Reuters photograph of the grisly aftermath of the attack on its front page.

In Pakistan, a Muslim country of some 180 million people, the reaction has been more muted. Many conservative families consider it shameful for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband. Refusal to accept arranged marriages frequently results in so-called 'honour killings'.

In 2013, 869 such cases were reported in the media, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and the true figure is probably higher since many cases go unreported.

News travelled further afield in Farzana's case partly because it took place in broad daylight outside the High Court in the city of Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital.

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