Father, son plead guilty to Aqsa Parvez murder

The father and brother of Aqsa Parvez, 16, have pleaded guilty to killing the Mississauga, Ont., teenager in 2007.

Mississauga, Ont., teen strangled in 2007 after argument over hijab

Aqsa Parvez was strangled in December 2007. ((Facebook))

The father and brother of Aqsa Parvez, 16, have pleaded guilty to killing the Mississauga, Ont., teenager in 2007.

Muhammad Parvez and Waqas Parvez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday and now face automatic life sentences.

Initially it was believed by police that Muhammad Parvez had killed his daughter, but in court it was revealed that the brother had strangled Aqsa.

"[Muhammad Parvez] decreed she should be murdered, but Waqas Parvez is no less guilty. He had so many opportunities in those days to stop his father," said Crown prosecutor Mara Brasso inside the court in nearby Brampton.

"The plan was in play at least two or three days before it happened. He never warned Aqsa. He never warned police. Even when they got to the home he obviously didn't falter on the threshold, on the doorstep and he carried on and murdered her," said Brasso.

"Home," said Brasso, "was the most dangerous place for her." 

Aqsa Parvez wanted to get a part-time job and be allowed to dress and act like other teenage girls in her neighbourhood, but those desires led to a deadly conflict with her family that ended with her being strangled.

The Parvez family had moved from Pakistan to Ontario. Aqsa was 11 years old when she arrived — the youngest of eight children.

The statement of facts released in court about the December 2007 death revealed that when she entered her teen years Aqsa began rebelling against her father's strict rules.

"[S]he was experiencing conflict at home over cultural differences between living in Canada and back [in Pakistan]," the statement said.

Aqsa was in almost constant disagreement with her father and her siblings. 

She told her father she did not wish to wear the hijab any longer. She wanted to dress in Western clothes and have the same freedoms as the other girls in her high school.

The statement revealed that Aqsa "did not have a door on her bedroom, her freedom to talk on the phone with friends was restricted, she was required to come straight home from school and expected to spend her evenings and weekends at home as well."

In September 2007, Aqsa told a counsellor at Applewood Heights Secondary School in Mississauga "that she was afraid her father wanted to kill her ..." 

The school made arrangements for Aqsa to stay at a shelter — but she stayed only three days. 

Soon after, she was permitted to wear non-traditional clothes to school but the conflicts within the family did not end.

Aqsa spent time living with friends, but during that time her father and other members of her family asked her to return home.

Taken from bus stop

On Dec. 10, 2007, Aqsa was taken from the school bus stop by her brother at approximately 7:20 a.m. It was just 36 minutes later that her father called 911 and told police he had "killed his daughter."

Police arrived and found Aqsa on her bed.

"She was fully clothed and had her jacket on. She had no vital signs. There was blood coming from her nose," according to the statement.

She was pronounced dead later that evening.

Peel Regional Police took Muhammad Parvez into custody and charged him with murder. But it was Waqas Parvez that actually killed Aqsa, according to the statement of facts.

Waqas Parvez, 26, was charged on June 26, 2008. His DNA was found beneath his sister's fingernails.

The agreed upon statement of facts contains an interview with Aqsa's mother, Anwar Jan, who attempts to explain why the murder happened.

In an interview with police, she says her husband told her he killed his youngest child because "this is my insult. My community will say, 'You have not been able to control your daughter.' This is my insult. She is making me naked." 

Police asked if things would have been different if the family had stayed in Pakistan.

"He would have killed her there too," she says. 

With files from the CBC's Dave Seglins & Michelle Cheung