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Pakistani woman: My relatives shot me, threw me in canal for marrying neighbor

By Aliza Kassim and Greg Botelho, CNN
June 7, 2014 -- Updated 1840 GMT (0240 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Saba Maqsood, 18, says her family was upset about her marrying a neighbor
  • Some of them shot her twice, put her in a sack, then threw her into a canal to die
  • Maqsood was recovered; police say they believe this was "an honor-related crime"
  • Police are trying to apprehend several of Maqsood's family members

(CNN) -- Shot twice. Tied up in a sack. Thrown into a canal.

Yet somehow, 18-year-old Saba Maqsood lived to tell her story. Had she not, Pakistani police say, it could very well have been another honor murder.

Those responsible for her horror, Maqsood told reporters Friday, are her father and brother. They shot her because they didn't approve of her marriage to a neighbor, she said.

The first bullet hit her cheek, the next one her hand, after which the teenager says she "was slightly conscious, but alive."

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"They put me into a sack, tied up the mouth of the sack and threw it into the canal," Maqsood recalled. "They thought I was dead, but I was not."

It was in a canal in the city of Hafizabad, a city in Punjab province about 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of Lahore, that workers at a gas station spotted the sack and the young woman inside and immediately alerted authorities, Hafizabad police officer Ali Akbar told CNN.

After corroborating the basics of Maqsood's story, including her injuries, Akbar said, "This seems to be an honor-related crime."

Such crimes -- which the perpetrators rationalize as necessary because the targeted women have somehow brought dishonor on a family -- are hardly unprecedented in Pakistan, a nation of about 180 million people.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said 869 women were victims last year.

One recent case that's gotten worldwide attention is the killing last month of Farzana Parveen, a 25-year-old woman who was publicly beaten to death with bricks in Lahore because she married a man against her family's wishes.

There have been 13 arrests in her case, including her father, a brother and a cousin -- Deputy Inspector General Zulfikar Hameed said.

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The plight of Maqsood -- whose hometown in Gujranwala, another city in Punjab province -- is different from Hameed because she survived.

Akbar said Friday that police have registered complaints against the 18-year-old's brother, father, uncle and aunt.

"The accused are on the run," the police officer added. "We are hopeful to apprehend them soon."

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