Mother ‘burnt her daughter to death’ over marriage in Pakistan

Police in the Pakistani city of Lahore have arrested a woman suspected of murdering her daughter for marrying without family consent.

Police say the body of Zeenat Rafiq shows signs of torture. She was tied to a bed, doused with fuel and set alight.

Her mother Parveen is accused of luring her back from her in-laws.

It is the third such case in a month in Pakistan, where attacks on women who go against conservative rules on love and marriage are common.

Last week a young school teacher, Maria Sadaqat, was set on fire in Murree near Islamabad for refusing a marriage proposal. She died of her injuries.

Maria Sadaqat

Maria Sadaqat suffered burns all over her body and took three days to die

A month earlier village elders near Abbottabad ordered the murder of a teenage girl who was burnt to death because she helped a friend to elope, police said.

Zeenat Rafiq had been strangled and burnt and there were signs of torture, police told BBC Urdu. A post mortem examination may establish if she was still alive when she was set on fire.

Police say her mother, who is 50, was found in the house with the body. They also want to speak to the dead girl’s brother.

Zeenat Rafiq married through the courts about a week ago, after eloping. She and her husband went to live with her in-laws.

Police say she was lured back to her family’s home when her mother said she wanted to reconcile and promised a proper wedding ceremony.

Protests over new law

Nearly 1,100 women were killed by relatives in Pakistan last year in so-called honour-killings, the country’s independent Human Rights Commission says. Many more cases go unreported.

Violence against women by those outside the family is also common.

Punjab province, where the two latest attacks happened, passed a landmark lawin February criminalising all forms of violence against women.

However, more than 30 religious groups, including all the mainstream Islamic political parties, threatened to launch protests if the law was not repealed.

The Council of Islamic Ideology, which advises the government, then proposed making it legal for husbands to “lightly beat” their wives. It came under fire as a result.

Religious groups have equated women’s rights campaigns with promotion of obscenity. They say the new Punjab law will increase the divorce rate and destroy the country’s traditional family system.

Source: BBC