(TheBlaze/AP) — A Pakistani couple accused of killing their 15-year-old daughter by pouring acid on her carried out the attack because she sullied the family’s honor by looking at a boy, the couple said in an interview broadcast Monday by the BBC.
The girl’s death underlines the problem of so-called “honor killings” in Pakistan where women are often killed for marrying or having relationships not approved by their families or because they are perceived to have somehow dishonored their family.
The girl’s parents, Mohammad Zafar and his wife Zaheen, recounted the Oct. 29 incident from jail. The father said the girl had turned to look at a boy who drove by on a motorcycle, and he told her it was wrong before he started beating her.
The girl’s mother continued with the chilling account, saying her daughter said she didn’t look “on purpose” and that it wouldn’t happen again.
“By then I had already thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way,” she concluded.
Television footage of the couple showed them standing behind bars in separate, but adjoining jail cells.
The father said the family had already come under public censure because of their older daughter’s behavior, but he did not detail what exactly he meant.
Pakistani officials initially said the attack occurred because the girl supposedly had an affair with a boy, but it’s unclear whether they ever even spoke.
After the attack, the parents kept the girl in agony at home for hours, the BBC reported, denying her any medical care. The father now claims, though, that he tried to “wipe” the acid off his daughter, and that it was his wife who escalated the situation from abuse to murder.
They apparently told the curious neighbors that their daughter had tried to kill herself in the hours between the attack, and when they finally went to the hospital.
The BBC was able to see the house where the “honor killing” occurred, and recorded the warm welcome the father received when he returned home. His other children, perhaps too young to understand why their sister died, are seen crying and hugging their father.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, at least 943 women were killed in the name of honor last year. Only 20 of the women were reported to have been given medical care before they died, the report said. The real toll is believed to be higher because many of the crimes go unreported.
“Throughout the year, women were callously killed in the name of honor when they went against family wishes in any way, or even on the basis of suspicion that they did so. Women were sometimes killed in the name of honor over property disputes and inheritance rights,” the report said.