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Slain woman’s husband killed 1st wife US denounces ‘heinous’ murder of Pakistani woman

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 30, (Agencies): The husband of a woman stoned to death in Pakistan killed his first wife four years ago, police and relatives said Thursday, a shocking twist both showing how complicated justice can be and how dangerous life is for women in the country.

A mob of family members, including her father and brothers, beat 25-year-old Farzana Parveen to death Tuesday with bricks stolen from a construction site in the eastern city of Lahore as onlookers stood by, authorities said. Initially, many in Pakistan offered their condolences to Parveen’s husband, Mohammed Iqbal, after the killing as the family apparently didn’t want her to marry him. But Thursday, Zulfiqar Hameed, deputy inspector general for Punjab police, told The Associated Press that authorities arrested Iqbal for the October 2009 killing of his first wife, Ayesha Bibi. Hameed could not offer details about the slaying, but said the case was withdrawn after a family member forgave him.

Under Pakistani law, those charged with a slaying can see their criminal case dropped if family members of the deceased forgive them or accept so-called “blood money” offerings over the crime. Reached by the AP at his village near the town of Jaranwala, Iqbal said he could not speak because he was praying at his second wife’s grave.

He did not respond to other requests for comment after that. One of Iqbal’s five children, Aurang Zeb, said his father killed his mother in 2009 over a dispute. He said his father was arrested but the children later forgave him and the case was withdrawn. “We don’t want to discuss whatever had happened in the past, but I confirm that we had forgiven our father Iqbal,” Zeb told the AP, adding that his father was in a state of shock after his second wife’s death. Two of Iqbal’s cousins also said he killed his first wife but said he had been forgiven by one of his sons.

Meanwhile, the United States Thursday condemned the “heinous” killing of a pregnant Pakistani woman beaten to death outside a courthouse, and called for her murderers to be swiftly tried. “We strongly condemn the murder of a woman outside the Lahore High Court on Tuesday,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We hope the perpetrators are quickly brought to justice in accordance with Pakistan’s law,” she told reporters.

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