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Thursday 18 September 2014

Saba (18) survives being shot and dumped in canal

Young wife fears family will try to finish off honour killing

Rob Crilly

Published 07/06/2014 | 02:30

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Saba Maqsood (18) sits on a hospital bed in Hafizabad in Punjab having survived being shot and thrown in a canal by her family for marrying the man she loved
Saba Maqsood (18) sits on a hospital bed in Hafizabad in Punjab having survived being shot and thrown in a canal by her family for marrying the man she loved
Saba Maqsood (18) lies on a hospital bed in Hafizabad in Punjab
Saba Maqsood (18) lies on a hospital bed in Hafizabad in Punjab

Shot in the face, stuffed in a sack and then dumped in a canal – 18-year-old Saba Maqsood never should have survived brutal Pakistani family justice.

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But against the odds, she escaped the attempted honour killing and scrambled on to the canal's bank.

Now, recovering in hospital, she fears that her father, brother and uncle will return to finish the job.

From her hospital bed, guarded by police officers, she issued an appeal for help. "Even though police provided me with security, I fear that my family will try to kill me and my husband," she said by telephone. "I appeal to the chief minister and authorities to take serious notice of this attack on me and take necessary action for our security."

The attempted honour killing came barely a week after another women, Farzana Parveen, was bludgeoned to death by her relations in Lahore, a murder that provoked worldwide condemnation and exposed the brutal way many families in Pakistan treat sisters and daughters.

That murder attracted little coverage in Pakistan, where the practice of coercing women into marriage is common.

In the latest case, police said Ms Maqsood had angered her family by marrying a neighbour five days earlier against their wishes. "It is an honour-related incident," said Ali Akbar, a local policeman.

On Thursday, Ms Maqsood was lured from her home in the Punjabi city of Gujranwala to Hafizabad, where she was shot twice, wounding her in the cheek and right hand.

Her father, brother, uncle and aunt all took part in the attack, according to her statement.

She was then bundled into a sack, which was knotted before she was dumped into the water. Within minutes, she regained consciousness and struggled to the bank where two passers-by helped her.

"She is a brave girl," said Mr Akbar, adding that officers were hunting for the relations. Her father's house had been searched, but the suspects had all disappeared.

Many cases are explained away as suicides, although almost 900 honour killings were reported last year, many when daughters refused to have an arranged marriage.

Few attract wider comment but the nature of Ms Parveen's murder last week – in broad daylight close to Lahore's court complex, which would have been teeming with police officers – echoed around the world.

She was killed on her way to the court by a mob of relations because her husband and father had disagreed over the bride price to be paid. Her husband had already been accused of kidnapping and she was due to attend court to record a statement saying she married of her own free will. It later emerged that the man she married had murdered his first wife to be with Ms Parveen.

Twelve of her relations have since been arrested.

Muslim leaders issued a fatwa condemning honour killings and Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister, ordered an explanation from Lahore police, but women's rights groups fear the case will be forgotten quickly. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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