ISLAMABAD — An 18-year-old Pakistani woman “miraculously survived” after being shot and thrown into a canal by her father for marrying against the family’s wishes, police said today, describing the latest in a series of such attacks on women in the Muslim-majority country.
The assault on Wednesday came days after a 25-year-old woman was beaten and stoned to death by her family for marrying a man they did not approve of, one of hundreds of so-called “honor killings” carried out every year in Pakistan against women accused of bringing shame to their conservative families through sexual transgressions.
Local police officer Ali Akbar said the teenager’s father, with help from some of his close relatives, attacked her in Hafizabad, a conservative city 200 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of the capital Islamabad.
Akbar said Saba Maqsood was in love with a man from a nearby city and married him last week, but her father Ahmed brought her back to his home, promising she would not be harmed. Akbar said her family members beat her, and the following day Ahmed took her to a deserted area and tried to kill her.
The woman told police her two uncles looked on as her father shot her in the face, put her in a burlap sack and threw her into a canal, Akbar said.
“Saba Maqsood told us that her father and other relatives had assumed that she was dead, but she regained consciousness, opened the sack and came out of the canal,” he said. He said she made her way to a gas station, where she alerted a security guard.
“We are raiding different places in an effort to capture her father and all those who participated in the assault,” he said.
The fatal stoning last month cast a harsh light on violence against women in Pakistan, where human rights activists say perpetrators are often acquitted or given light sentences.
Under Pakistani law, those charged with killing women can see their criminal case dropped if family members of the deceased forgive them or accept so-called “blood money.”