A Pakistani teenager was burnt alive by her mother on Wednesday after marrying a man of her own choice, police said, the latest in a string of so-called “honour killings” in the country. Zeenat Bibi, 16, was set on fire by her mother Perveen Bibi in the eastern city of Lahore a little more than a week after the wedding, police said.
“Perveen Bibi killed her daughter Zeenat Bibi by burning her alive around 9:00 am on Wednesday,” Haidar Ashraf, a senior police official told AFP, adding the teen had married a man named Hasan on May 29.
It was the third such “honour killing” in as many months. Last week, 19-year-old Maria Sadaqat was tortured and burned by a group of people in a village close to the holiday resort of Murree, outside the capital Islamabad, for refusing a marriage proposal from the son of a former colleague.
Another woman believed to be aged between 16 and 18 was drugged, strangled and her body burnt on the orders of a village jirga (council) in northwest Pakistan on April 29, allegedly for helping a friend to elope with her lover. Zeenat’s husband Hasan told local TV station Geo News that the pair had eloped, but he had reluctantly allowed her to return to her family home after they promised they would hold a celebration and not harm her.
He said: “After living with me for four days following our marriage, her family contacted us and promised they would throw us a proper wedding party after eight days then we could live together.
“Zeenat was unwilling to go back to her home and told me that she would be killed by her family but later agreed when one of her uncles guaranteed her safety.
“After two days, she called me and said that her family had gone back on their word and asked me to come get her, but I told her to wait for the promised eight days. Then, she was killed.” Ashraf, the police official, said Perveen and other family members had confessed to the crime and that police had seized kerosene oil from the scene. Another senior police official confirmed the details of the killing.
Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year on the pretext of defending what is seen as family honour.
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” — a film telling the story of a rare survivor of an attempted honour killing — won an Oscar for best documentary short in February. Amid publicity for the film, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to eradicate the “evil” of honour killings but no fresh legislation has been tabled since then.