An 18-year-old Pakistani woman has survived an attack on her life by relatives angry with her for marrying for love. Saba Maqsood appealed for protection from the authorities after telling how she had been shot and thrown into a canal in the city of Hafizabad, in Punjab province. A local police official said Ms Maqsood had been attacked by her father, uncle, brother and aunt on Thursday because they disapproved of her marrying her neighbour Muhammad Qaiser five days earlier.
The official said the family had taken the young woman to Hafizabad under the pretext of a reconciliation, shot her twice, put her in a sack presuming she was dead and then thrown her into the canal. Her relatives fled the scene, and after minutes in the water she regained consciousness and managed to struggle to the bank, where two passers-by helped her.
“After bringing me there, they shot me,” the victim said from her hospital bed. “I was hit in the cheek by the first shot, and in the hand by the next one. “They thought I had died, but I was not dead. I was slightly conscious, but alive.
“They put me into a sack, tied up the mouth of the sack, and threw it into the canal. Inside a sack, and into the canal. They thought I was dead, but I was not.” Police went to Ms Maqsood’s father’s home in the nearby city of Gujranwala but all the suspects had disappeared, the police official said.
Many conservative Pakistani families believe it is dishonourable for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband. In parts of Pakistan – a Muslim nation of 180 million people – women are expected to agree to arranged marriages and refusal can lead to so-called “honour killings”.
A Pakistani woman was last month attacked and killed by suspected family members because she had married the man she loved.
The killing, which took place in broad daylight outside a court in Lahore, drew intense global attention, including condemnation from the UN.