LAHORE: The husband of Farzana Parveen has revealed in a grisly twist that he strangled his first wife.
Mohammad Iqbal, 45-year-old farmer, said he had killed his first wife -- and was spared prison because he was forgiven for the act by his son.
“I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love,” Iqbal said, adding that he had strangled her.
After admitting to the murder he switched off his phone and did not respond to further calls.
Zulfiqar Hameed, a senior police officer investigating the killing of Parveen, said police would be filing a report to the government detailing Iqbal’s past.
“Iqbal was a notorious character and he murdered his first wife six years ago,” Hameed said.
“He was arrested and later released after a compromise with his family.”
Parveen, who was three months pregnant, had gone to court to testify in Iqbal’s defence after he was accused by her relatives of kidnapping her and forcing her into marriage.
Iqbal, a farmer, said he had been receiving death threats from his in-laws, and that he did not believe police were actively pursuing his wife’s killers.
“I am already upset and worried but now they are threatening to kill me as well,” he said.
He said Parveen’s family had initially agreed to their marriage but later changed their mind after he did not pay them a big enough dowry.
He shed further light on Parveen’s horrifying last moments.
“Five to six people were hitting her in the head, she was shouting for help, she was screaming but they killed my helpless wife,” he said. “We were in love.”
Hundreds of women are murdered by relatives in Pakistan each year supposedly to defend family “honour”, but the fact that police officers guarding the court apparently did nothing to intervene to save 25-year-old Parveen has added to the outrage over the killing.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has told the Punjab chief minister, his brother Shahbaz Sharif, to act over the “brutal killing of lady in the premises of high court in the presence of police”, a statement from his office said.
“I am directing the Chief Minister to take immediate action and report must be submitted by this evening to my office,” Sharif said in the statement.
“This crime is totally unacceptable and must be dealt with in accordance with law promptly.”
The attack also casts a spotlight on Pakistan’s controversial blood-money laws which allow relatives of homicide victims to forgive their perpetrators -- who, in cases such as this, are often also family members.
Last year, 869 women died in so-called “honour killings”, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Conviction rates are very low due to Pakistan’s blood-money laws, which allow relatives to forgive perpetrators, who are usually family members in such cases.