Kanwal Parveen was relieved and very happy as she received a message from her uncle. The long estranged separation with her family was about to end. Both Kanwal and her husband were happy that their love marriage will now be valued and accepted. She told her three children that finally after 10 years her family accepted their love marriage.
Around 4:30pm that day, Kanwal entered her uncle’s house located in village 104 South in the suburbs of Sargodha, minutes before a horrific crime took place. Kanwal’s husband Imran told the police that, at the entrance of the house, Kanwal, Imran and their children met her uncle’s neighbour Muhammed Waqas and Kanwal’s nine-year-old nephew.
According to Imran, Kanwal had asked Waqas what he was doing there. To which Waqas had replied that he was training the child to murder Kanwal because she had dishonoured her family by eloping with Imran.
A progress report provided by Police Station Saddar, Sargodha states, “According to Imran’s statement, Kanwal and Waqas exchanged hot words. Waqas then swiftly handed a 30 bore pistol to the child and, taking the child’s name, said, ‘Student, take your aim at Kanwal Parveen.’ The child took the weapon, aimed directly at Kanwal, pulled the trigger, and hit her in the middle of her forehead. She fell and we stood stunned, not knowing what to do. Then Waqas took the child’s hand and walked out of the house where a man called Ahsanallah (Chadho) was waiting with a motorcycle and the trio fled the crime scene.”
Kanwal died on the spot.
According to the progress report provided by the police, the child was arrested 10 days later. The police decided not to charge Ahsanallah and later released him.
“The child was taken into custody but he is now back with his parents,” says police Sub-Inspector Muhammad Abid, pointing out he was a minor. “He was released on bail after two months.”
Kanwal was killed by a nephew she had never met, as he was born after she had left for her husband’s house. The fatal shot that ended her life must have rung through her ears before piercing her body. If death gave her time, she would have seen an unfamiliar child standing with a gun, pointed at her — a child who had been trained for a whole year to commit this murder.
Najm-ul-Hassan was not even born when Kanwal Parveen exercised her right to make an independent decision and marry someone she liked.
However, the way the child reacted to Waqas’s command indicates that he had been completely brainwashed and was under the control of the older man. He has been desensitised — and dehumanised — to murder on command.
This isn’t the only shocking case of honor killing in Pakistan. Every week brings fresh news of wives strangled, daughters shot or sisters drowned for a perceived slight to family “honour”. Sometimes a single person is responsible; more often, a group of male family members are involved. The vast majority of the killers go unpunished. We live in a sick hypocrite society where we are fervent to thrash and rape a girl to quench our frustration but couldn’t allow her to marry a man of her own choice.