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Parole granted for B.C. man who strangled pregnant wife to death in 2006


A man from B.C.'s Lower Mainland who was convicted of second-degree murder for strangling his pregnant wife to death 17 years ago has been granted full parole.

Mukhtiar Singh Panghali was previously granted day parole last year – a move that outraged advocates for victims of domestic violence.

“At 51, he has a long life ahead of him. He will get to walk and get freedom, when a woman's life at 31 was cut short, and a child … will never have this opportunity,” said Ninu Kang with Ending Violence Association of B.C. “Why is our justice system broken and not equipped to support those who are killed at the hands of their intimate partners?”

The offender killed Manjit Panghali at their home in Surrey's Cloverdale neighbourhood in October 2006, then burned her body. Before his wife's disappearance was solved, Panghali made a tearful public plea for her safe return.

In a decision issued Oct. 6, the Parole Board of Canada said Panghali has made significant progress toward mitigating his risk to the community, which included completing a number of treatment programs and finally taking responsibility for killing his wife – something he avoided doing for years.

"You initially attempted to appeal, denying responsibility and providing a cultural rationalization for burning the victim's body," the document reads. "You have since admitted to having a desire to murder the victim prior to the date of the index offence, and planned to commit the murder beforehand."

While Panghali was assessed as a high-risk of violence in a domestic setting in 2011, a subsequent psychological assessment completed in 2020 determined he posed a low-moderate risk of violence.

Since being granted day parole, the offender has "not posed any significant management concern, and (appears) to be reintegrating appropriately," according to the board's decision.

SFU associate professor of criminology Alexandra Lysova said prison staff may have observed changes in Panghali while he’s been behind bars.

“We can only trust the professionals who supervise him for so many years in prison and trust that the work that was done with him while he was in prison,” she said.

In this case, the parole board noted the Correctional Service of Canada also recommended that Panghali be granted full parole.

“There are so many different agencies, and at the same time, individuals who worked with him while he was in prison made this decision. So I really wanted to hope that they made a right decision and there will be no harm to society once he is released,” Lysova said. “This is how the system works: We want also to rehabilitate people and not to keep them in prison indefinitely.”


In the 17 years since Manjit Panghali’s tragic death, the trend of femicides has only gone up.

“We're failing victims of intimate partner violence and sexualized violence and it's on us, those that work in the system,” said Kang.

When Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth was asked to comment on Panghali’s release, he did not mince words.

“In my view, if you murdered someone, a pregnant woman, your wife or spouse, quite frankly, I think you should be serving your full sentence. But these decisions are made under federal law and the province doesn’t have a say in that,” he said.

But Kang isn’t so sure Farnworth should pass the buck.

“We have seen women die at the hands of their intimate partner every year. Astonishing numbers and the numbers have not decreased, so the province has a role to play,” she said, adding they had been advocating for a provincial death review of all cases of domestic violence.

“Often they're led by the coroner's office, but we also believe that as a community, we can partner with the coroner's office and other key stakeholders to ensure that we are continuously learning about how we're failing victims of intimate partner violence and sexualized violence,” Kang said. “It's on us to fix our systems.”


The Parole Board of Canada documents reveal Panghali has been working in a full-time position at an undisclosed company – which recently offered him a promotion – while also rebuilding relationships with family members and friends.

The board noted Panghali has not entered into any romantic relationships, meaning his "program skills have not been truly tested" in that context.

"Should you involve yourself in a relationship, this would be (a) high-risk situation for you and must be monitored closely by your (case management team), through the relevant special condition to restrict you from initiating relationships with women without the permission of your parole supervisor," the documents add.

Panghali will be under a number of special conditions during his release, including that he continue following a treatment plan specifically addressing areas of domestic violence, emotional management and healthy relationships, and barring him from having any direct or indirect contact with "biological family members" of his victim, including his daughter.

He must also immediately report any sexual and non-sexual relationships, including friendships, with women to his parole supervisor, along with any changes to the status of those relationships, and is not allowed to buy, possess or drink alcohol.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Angela Jung Top Stories

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