Pakistan: Pregnant woman killed by disapproving family, police say

Posted at 3:34 PM, Jun 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-17 17:34:50-04

By Susanna Capelouto and Sophia Saifi


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — A pregnant woman was killed by her family in eastern Pakistan because she married against family members’ wishes three years ago, according to police.

Muqaddas Tawfeeq, 22, was eight months pregnant with her second child, her husband, Khalid Tawfeeq said. She visiting a maternity clinic for a checkup Thursday, when her mother appeared and “dragged her away” to her maternal home,Tawfeeq told CNN.

Once there Muqaddas Tawfeeq’s brother, Mohammed Adeel Bashir, attacked and slit her throat, Muhammad Tahir, Gujranwala regional police officer, told CNN.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the mother, Amna Bashir, and the brother, who are on the run, police said.

“They hit her with wooden rods and when that didn’t kill her, they slit her throat,” the grieving husband said. “I want justice, I beseech the prime minister to help me, I want justice.”

Pakistan wrestles with killings by family members

Such killings by family members are considered murder in Pakistan, but some say the government needs to do more to prevent them.

“The provincial governments have been fully empowered under law to treat cases of ‘honor’ killings as acts of murder,” said Mohiuddin Wani, joint press secretary to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

In the first five months of 2016, Pakistan reported 212 so-called honor killings by family members, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. These killings included 50 men and 38 minors.

“Now we are seeing mothers being killed as well? The law will not spare those who have killed Pakistan’s sons and daughters in the name of what they call ‘honor,’ ” Wani said.

Such killings are also “un-Islamic, unlawful and criminal,” he said.

Tribal practices prevail

Such crimes often originate from tribal practices and punishment for behavior viewed as bringing dishonor to a family or village.

There has been a complete failure of the state and the society to deal with such crimes, most of which are premeditated, according to Farzana Bari, director of the gender studies center at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad.

“The criminal justice system is completely not working very effectively,” Bari told CNN last month. “At the local level people go to the tribal council for their issues.”

Around 1,100 women were killed by relatives in Pakistan last year, the Human Rights Commission reported. More than 900 cases of sexual violence were reported against women, and nearly 800 women committed or attempted to commit suicide, according to the commission.

CNN’s Susanna Capelouto wrote from Atlanta, and Sophia Saifi reported from Islamabad. CNN’s Zahra Ullah and journalist Adeel Raja contributed to this report.