Pakistani woman is burnt alive for marrying against her family’s wishes

A woman in Pakistan burned her 17-year-old daughter alive to punish her for marrying against the family’s wishes, the latest in a series of so-called “honour killings” that claim the lives of nearly 1,000 women every year in the conservative Muslim country.

Police say Zeenat Rafiq’s mother, Parveen, tied her to a cot and drenched her with kerosene before lighting her on fire. 

Neighbours in the working-class neighbourhood in Lahore came running when they heard the screams, but family members kept them from entering the house, said Nighat Bibi, who lives nearby.

The police found the charred body near a staircase. They arrested the mother soon after.

The victim’s husband, Hassan Khan, told reporters the two had been “in love since our school days” but the family had rejected several marriage proposals, forcing them to elope last month. 

He showed an affidavit of consent signed by his wife before a magistrate. He also showed phone photos of a smiling Zeenat wearing a red dress.

Sheikh Hammad, a local police official, said Parveen confessed to killing her daughter with the help of her son Ahmar. He quoted the woman as saying “I don’t have any regrets.” 

Another police officer, Ibadat Nisar, said the body showed signs of beating and strangulation.

Hundreds of women are killed every year in Pakistan — often by their own family — for violating the country’s conservative norms regarding love and marriage. 

Sex outside of marriage is seen by conservative Pakistanis as a stain on the honour of the entire family, one that can only be removed by killing the woman.


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