‘I’ll cut out your tongue’

Businessman Aurang Zeb outside Blackburn magistrates court this week

Businessman Aurang Zeb outside Blackburn magistrates court this week

MailOnline  A muslim who threatened to kill his wife and cut out her tongue after she blocked an arranged marriage for their daughter has been banned from seeing his family.

In the first prosecution of its kind, Aurang Zeb has been convicted of breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order taken out to stop him taking Rozina Akhtar out of Britain to marry.

But despite his chilling threats he escaped imprisonment and was given community service. Last night campaigners condemned the sentence, saying it sent out the wrong message.

‘There’s clear evidence that this man threatened to kill his wife, so how can he be given community service?’ said Shazia Qayum of Karma Nirvana, a group which helps victims of forced marriage.

‘He should have been locked up. The law just isn’t strong enough at the moment, and it’s time the Government made forced marriage a criminal offence.’

Zeb, a former builder, set up a marriage between Rozina and his brother’s son while visiting their native Pakistan when she was just 19.

After returning home to Blackburn, his daughter decided she did not want to go through with it.

His wife, Parveen Akhtar, stepped in, explaining she had been pushed into an unhappy marriage to Zeb 24 years ago and did not want their daughter to suffer the same fate.

But he insisted Rozina had no choice, saying she was ‘dishonouring’ the family, magistrates heard.

Using laws on forced marriage introduced last November, police secured one of Britain’s first FMPOs against Zeb, 43.

He was ordered to forfeit his passport and barred from taking Rozina, now 23, to Pakistan.

But though he moved out of the family home after February’s ruling, he continued stalking them, Blackburn magistrates were told.

He would wait for Parveen in his car outside the house to accuse her of having an affair – which she denied, said Catherine Allan, prosecuting.

The father of two also harassed his son, Nasir Khan, almost running him off the road and demanding he attack Parveen and Rozina.

In one conversation, Zeb said that if Nasir killed them he would ‘only get five to seven years’ in jail.

Then last month, he rang his wife and told her in a ‘very chilling voice’ she ‘wouldn’t dream of what I would do to you’, threatening: ‘I’m going to kill you and chop off your tongue.’

Miss Allan said: ‘Parveen was under no doubts that he would kill her. He became more threatening and unpredictable towards her and the children, and made her life a misery.’

Zeb was arrested and pleaded guilty to harassing his wife, daughter and son.

But his solicitor, Basharat Ditta, denied he had tried to make Rozina marry against her will, insisting he had ‘traditional Asian’ values.

Zeb was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work, placed under a 12-month community supervision order and told to pay £85 costs.

Magistrates also imposed a restraining order barring him from contacting his family indefinitely.

Rozina and her mother remained too fearful to speak yesterday.

But Detective Inspector Claire Holbrook, of Lancashire Police, said: ‘I hope this sends a very clear message that we will use everything in our power to protect victims who are in fear of being forced into a marriage.’

While arranged marriages are traditional in many cultures, forced marriage carrying the threat of intimidation or violence is outlawed by Muslim leaders. The system of orders was introduced after ministers dropped plans to make forcing someone to marry a crime. More than 70 have been imposed so far.

Breaching one is contempt of court and can carry a two-year jail term.

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