Church in Pakistan Condemns Family's Slaying of Pregnant Mother

'Honor Killings' Have No Place in Modern Democratic Society, Says Prelate

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The emeritus archbishop of Lahore has called the “honour killing" of a pregnant mother at the hands of her family an “evil practice” that “has no place in a modern democratic society” where all life “must be respected and defended.”

Farzana Parveen Bibi was killed on Tuesday, along with her unborn child, in front of Lahore’s High Court for marrying Mohammad Iqbal against the will of her family. The killing was carried out by her father and brothers in the presence of some 20 people.

“It is truly deplorable that Farzana Bibi was stoned to death by her father and brothers in the square in front of Lahore’s High Court, and no one, not even the police officers on duty sought to save her," said Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha, emeritus of Lahore, speaking to Fides Agency.

He added that “the death of the child she was carrying is a further tragedy.”

According to civil society sources, in 2013 some 900 women were killed by family members because Pakistan allows crimes to "avenge honor."

Archbishop Saldanha is a former chairman of the Pakistani Catholic Bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace, which is currently waging a campaign against so-called honour crimes.

“It is necessary to increase awareness at every level of Pakistan society to eliminate the social evil of crimes to avenge honour,” he said. “Only in this way the deaths of Farzana and her innocent baby will not be in vain.”

“We firmly condemn the brutal killing of Farzana Parveen Bibi,” he said. “The old custom of crimes to avenge honour is widespread in Pakistan and it should be eradicated as soon as possible. This evil practice has no place in a modern democratic society in which the right to life for every person, man, woman or child, must be respected and defended.”