Thursday, 14 July 2016

In Pakistan, gruesome ‘honor’ killings bring a new backlash

 

Parveen Rafiq closed her hands around the neck of her youngest daughter, Zeenat, and squeezed and squeezed until the girl was almost dead.

Then, in the tiny apartment where the family lived, she doused the 18-year-old with kerosene and set her on fire.
Neighbors saw the smoke and rushed to the home. Someone inside, apparently one of Rafiq’s daughters-in-law, was screaming, “Help her! Help!”
But the door was bolted from within. Moments later, they heard Rafiq scream from her rooftop: “I have killed my daughter. I have saved my honor. She will never shame me again.”


“We were in love,” Khan said, his voice barely a whisper.
He fumbled through his phone until he found a collection of selfies that Zeenat had put together to the rhythm of their favorite song, an Urdu pop tune called “You Made Me Your Lover.”
She loved taking selfies, loved music and poetry, he said. As the music played, Zeenat in the photos struck different poses, sometimes coy, sometimes playful or teasing, but always smiling, her long black hair falling loosely past her shoulders.
She also taught the neighborhood children the Quran, Islam’s holy book. She could recite the entire book from memory.
Her mother knew about Khan, and she and Zeenat were constantly fighting. Zeenat told him her mother beat her. Over long hours on the phone, Zeenat pleaded with him to marry her so she wouldn’t be forced into an arrangement.
Finally, in May, they sneaked off and registered their marriage at the local courthouse and Zeenat moved into Khan’s home.
They had defied her mother. They were together.
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