A father killed his wife and four daughters in their sleep because he could not bear them adopting a more westernised lifestyle, an inquest heard yesterday.
Mohammed Riaz, 49, found it abhorrent that his eldest daughter wanted to be a fashion designer, and that she and her sisters were likely to reject the Muslim tradition of arranged marriages. (…) Riaz, who had spent all but the last 17 years of his life in the North West Frontier region of Pakistan, met his Anglo-Pakistani wife when her father sent her to the sub-continent to find a husband. (…)
After Mrs Riaz’s father died she “suddenly felt less beholden to Mohammed”, a friend said. “She started to develop her own circle of friends and allowed the girls to express themselves in a more western way.” She began to work with women who felt suppressed by Asian culture and many saw her as a role model for young Asian women.
Zilla Huma Usman, the minister for social welfare in Punjab province and an ally of President Pervez Musharraf, was killed as she was about to deliver a speech to dozens of party activists, by a “fanatic”, who believed that she was dressed inappropriately and that women should not be involved in politics, officials said. Mrs Usman, 35, was wearing the shalwar kameez worn by many professional women in Pakistan, but did not cover her head.
The attack happened in Gujranwala, 120 miles southeast of Islamabad, where the minister’s office is based. As Ms Usman, 35, stepped out of her car – where she was greeted by her co-workers throwing rose petals – the attacker pulled out a pistol and fired a single shot at close range, hitting her in the head. She was airlifted to hospital in the provincial capital Lahore, but died soon afterwards. (…)
Mr Sarwar appeared relaxed and calm when he told a television channel that he had carried out God’s order to kill women who sinned. “I have no regrets. I just obeyed Allah’s commandment,” he said, adding that Islam did not allow women to hold positions of leadership. “I will kill all those women who do not follow the right path, if I am freed again,” he said.