Mum 'burns daughter alive after she married for love'

By Ishaan Tharoor

Hassan Khan shows the picture of his wife Zeenat Rafiq, who was burned alive, allegedly by her mother. Photo / AP
Hassan Khan shows the picture of his wife Zeenat Rafiq, who was burned alive, allegedly by her mother. Photo / AP

A woman in the Pakistani city of Lahore allegedly doused her teenage daughter with kerosene and set her ablaze.

The incident is being cast by authorities as an 'honour' killing; the mother, Parveen Rafiq, was apparently upset with her daughter for eloping with a man.

According to AP, authorities said Parveen tied daughter Zeenat, 17, to a cot before lighting her on fire. Police eventually arrived at the home - in a crammed, working-class area of the city - to find Zeenat's charred body, which reportedly also showed signs of beating and strangulation.

They arrested the mother and are searching for her son, who allegedly assisted in the killing, according to local reports.

A local police official told AP that Parveen had confessed and even claimed, "I don't have any regrets".

Zeenat's husband, Hassan Khan, told reporters that the pair had been in love since they met in school but that his marriage proposals had been rebuffed by her family. He showed a cellphone photo of his slain bride:

AP reported:

Khan said her mother and uncle had visited her three days ago to try to persuade her to return home and have a marriage ceremony with the family, so that she wouldn't be branded as someone who had eloped. He recalled his wife telling him: "Don't let me go, they will kill me."

The incident follows a similar episode last week in which a schoolteacher was set on fire for allegedly refusing to marry a man twice her age; the suspected culprit was the man's father.

Honour killings are depressingly prevalent in Pakistan. A report by an independent commission in the country, published in April, found that nearly 1100 women believed to have brought disrepute to their families were killed by relatives in 2015 - a rise in such violence from previous years.

A documentary by Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on a hideous honour-killing attempt won an Oscar this year. Yet, despite the growing domestic - let alone worldwide - recognition of the evil of this custom, the practice persists in rural and impoverished parts of Pakistan.

"We need to make examples of people," Obaid-Chinoy said a day after winning the Oscar. "Some people still don't think that killing a woman in the name of honour is actually a crime."

- Washington Post

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