Police in Lahore, Pakistan, are searching for two men after the fatal shooting of a woman who reportedly refused marriage proposals from each of them.
“We are also after two suspects and will share further details at a later stage,” Sayyed Ali, an operations superintendent at Punjab Police, said to the news site Dawn. As of Wednesday, no arrests had been made but police were searching in the cities of Islamabad and Lahore, the case’s chief investigating officer told said.
Ali also said police were monitoring closed-circuit TV footage as well as analyzing Zulfiqar’s phone, which was found near her body.
But police had reportedly been warned of the threats to Zulfiqar’s life in the days leading up to her death, according to reports in the media. According to a police report filed on April 20, Zulfiqar accused a man of abducting her at gunpoint and attempting to sexually assault her a few days earlier. While she had gotten away, the man had said to her, “You won’t be able to escape, I will kill you.”
Zulfiqar reportedly asked the police for protection following the alleged abduction. Residents in Zulfiqar’s neighborhood in Lahore said police had taken measures to visit the area looking for the car in the alleged abduction. But neighbors reportedly said they often heard loud arguments from her flat and, in one case, saw men armed with knives threatening Zulfiqar in the street. Zulfiqar’s uncle, Mohammad Nazeer, said his niece had also warned him she was in a feud with two men who threatened her with “dire consequences” after she refused their marriage proposals, according to The Guardian..
Zulfiqar’s is emblematic of prevalent violence against women in Pakistan, which is ranked by the Global Gender Gap Index 2020 as the third-worst country globally in terms of gender equality, with 85 percent of women experiencing gender violence in their lifetime. The country was ranked the fifth-worst country globally in terms of women’s health and survival. A funeral for Zulfiqar was held in Lahore on Tuesday, and prayers were offered near the family’s home in West London.