Pregnant Pakistani woman's stoning 'revolting', says Archbishop

Members of Pakistan's civil society, hold banners and chant slogans, during a protest to condemn the killing of pregnant woman Farzana Parveen, who was stoned to death, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, May 29, 2014. A senior police official in Pakistan said Mohammed Iqbal, husband of the woman stoned to death by her family earlier this week, was arrested for killing his first wife, though the case against him was withdrawn. Iqbal's second wife was bludgeoned to death Tuesday in the eastern city of Lahore by family members. Iqbal and his wife's lawyer said the family was angry because they wanted her to marry someone else. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

The stoning to death of a pregnant Pakistani woman has been described as "revolting" by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Archbishop Justin Welby was speaking to The Times at the end of a two-day visit to Pakistan this week.

Farzana Parveen, 25, was stoned in front of the court in Lahore by members of her family who saw it as a question of honour. Parveen was three months pregnant and was killed because she married the man of her choice.

Her husband, Mohammad Iqbal, 45, said police stood by and did nothing while she was lynched in front of hundreds of people.

"I was utterly horrified and every Pakistani I have spoken to is also horrified. It (the stoning) was in no sense a punishment, but a revolting lynching," said the Archbishop.

He also said Christians in Pakistan should be able to worship safely and that churches needed to be protected.

"Freedom of worship is a universal human right around the world, and all countries need to pay attention to that," he said.

During his visit to Pakistan, the Archbishop met the country's Anglican leaders in Lahore, where he heard about the persecution they are suffering for their faith.

Christians are a small minority in Pakistan, numbering only 3.6 million, and routinely face discrimination because of their religion. This includes false blasphemy accusations and beatings.

Speaking to reporters, the Archbishop of Canterbury said he was praying for the blessing of Pakistan and the reform of blasphemy laws.

He added he was praying for the Pakistani government "to be favourable in seeing that [Christians are] not a group that are seeking undue advantage but are only seeking to do good".

The Archbishop was in Pakistan with his wife Caroline at the invitation of the Primate of the Anglican Church of Pakistan, the Most Reverend Samuel Robert Azariah.

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