Husband of Pakistani ‘honour killing’ victim murdered first wife

“I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love,” Mohammad Iqbal admitted.

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LAHORE, Pakistan // The husband of the pregnant Pakistani woman bludgeoned to death outside a courthouse murdered his first wife, he told AFP on Thursday, in a twist to a story that has shocked rights activists.

Farzana Parveen was murdered on Tuesday outside the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore by more than two dozen attackers, including her brother and father.

She was killed in a so-called “honour killing” for marrying against her family’s wishes.

The brazen, brutal nature of the killing, in broad daylight in the centre of Pakistan’s second largest city, has triggered outrage around the world.

Now Farzana’s husband Mohammad Iqbal, 45, has admitted killing his first wife.

“I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love,” adding that he had strangled her.

Mr Iqbal said he was spared a prison term because his son – who alerted police to the murder – later forgave him under Pakistan’s controversial blood money laws.

Rights groups have expressed fears the same blood money laws that spared Mr Iqbal could be used to pardon Farzana’s killers.

Zulfiqar Hameed, a senior police officer investigating the killing of Farzana, said police would be filing a report to the government detailing Mr Iqbal’s past.

“Iqbal was a notorious character and he had murdered his first wife six years ago. A police case was lodged against him and he was on the run for many weeks,” Mr Hameed said.

“He was arrested and later released after a compromise with his family.”

According to Iqbal, a farmer from the Jaranwala district of Punjab, Farzana’s family had initially agreed to their marriage but they later fell out because they wanted a greater amount in dowry.

Last year, 869 women died in “honour killings”, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

* Agence France-Presse