Pakistan woman survives 'honour killing' attempt, but still fears for her life

Ms Saba Maqsood, 18, lying on a hospital bed in Hafizabad in Punjab Province on June 5, 2014. Ms Maqsood has survived being shot and thrown in a canal by her family for marrying the man she loved, the police said, weeks after the "honour killing" of
Ms Saba Maqsood, 18, lying on a hospital bed in Hafizabad in Punjab Province on June 5, 2014. Ms Maqsood has survived being shot and thrown in a canal by her family for marrying the man she loved, the police said, weeks after the "honour killing" of another woman drew worldwide condemnation. Mr Ali Akbar, a local police official, said Ms Maqsood had been attacked and shot by her father, uncle, brother and aunt and thrown into the waterway in the city of Hafizabad in Punjab province. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP/Reuters) - A Pakistani woman who was brutally beaten, shot and dumped in a canal by her relatives for marrying against their wishes has survived her harrowing ordeal, the police said on Friday.

Ms Saba Maqsood, 19, was shot twice and beaten by her father, uncle and two other close relatives on Tuesday after they learned she had secretly married. The police have since launched a manhunt for her alleged attackers.

The incident occurred in Gujranwala town, some 70km north of Lahore, the capital of central Punjab province where a woman was murdered last month in broad daylight by her relatives outside a courthouse in a case that caused global outrage.

"First they brutally beat her (Saba) and then shot her twice. She was then put in a sack and thrown in a canal," police investigator Zabitay Khan told AFP. "They had presumed her dead but she managed to open the sack and came out of the canal," Mr Khan said, adding Ms Maqsood had married her neighbour against the wishes of her parents.

The police were alerted to the teenager's plight after she managed to crawl out of the canal and reach a security guard at a nearby petrol pump.

The police have launched a search and carried out several raids to arrest Ms Saba's attackers but they have fled the town, Mr Khan added.

Ms Maqsood still fears for her life.

"Even though police provided me with security, I fear that my family will try to kill me and my husband," Ms Maqsood, still weak after being shot twice in the cheek and right hand, told Reuters by telephone from her hospital bed. "I appeal to the chief minister and the authorities to take serious notice of this attack on me and take necessary action for our security."

The police have pledged to protect her. "We have moved Saba to a private room in the hospital and deployed female and male police officers for her security," said regional police officer Ali Akbar. "I have contacted her husband Qaiser but he is reluctant to come to the hospital because he is afraid of being attacked."

Dr Shiraz Farooqi, a doctor in a main hospital in Hafiz Abad, where the girl was under medical treatment told AFP that she was in a stable condition and recovering from her ordeal.

Many Pakistani women have no say in who they marry and disobeying the wishes of relatives is believed to bring shame on the whole family.

Last year 869 women died in so-called "honour killings" according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

But Pakistan's blood-money laws allow a victim's family to forgive the murderer, which makes prosecuting so-called "honour" cases difficult because the killer is usually a relative.