Woman Burnt To Death In Pakistan For Rejecting Marriage Proposal


A Pakistani woman who was set on fire for refusing a marriage proposal has died of her injuries.

Maria Sadaqat, a young schoolteacher, was attacked in her home by a group of men on Sunday and died in hospital in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Her family say she had turned down a marriage proposal from the son of the owner of a school she had taught at.

Campaigners say attacks on women who refuse marriage proposals are common in Pakistan.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif launched an immediate investigation into the killing, which will report in two days.

Maria’s father has said the school owner was one of the men who attacked his daughter.

Police told the BBC that the men beat her and doused her in petrol before setting her alight near the hill resort of Murree, not far from the capital.

She suffered serious burns on nearly all of her body.

Ms Sadaqat’s maternal aunt, Aasia, told the BBC the trouble started when the school’s owner asked for her niece to marry his son.

She said: “She was teaching at their school. They sent in the proposal six months ago but the guy was already married and had a daughter. They wanted her to run the school after marrying the son of the owner of the school.

“Her father refused the proposal and they took the revenge by doing this.”

Panic and anger in Murree: The BBC’s Iram Abbasi reports

“They have taken away my universe, why was she brutally murdered? How can they not feel any compassion?” Maria’s mother told me, while waiting for her daughter’s body.

We were outside a local hospital in Murree. It is a resort town with a 69% literacy rate which, even though high for a rural area, can still not combat the menace of violence against women.

Life here is strictly dictated by religious norms.

After this incident, the sleepy hill town is engulfed with panic and anger. The elders are trying to influence the victim’s father to stay quiet as this is a matter of his honour.

One of the elders whispered in his ear “your daughter is gone and they are going to malign her and your family’s honour the more you highlight it in the media.”
The family is being pressurised by fellow villagers to settle the case out of court.

‘Honour killings’

Nearly 1,100 women were killed in Pakistan last year in so-called honour-killings, the country’s independent Human Rights Commission says.

Most are by relatives, but a small number carried out by people outside the family are also related to perceived loss of honour, correspondents say.

Police said earlier this year that village elders had ordered the murder of a teenage girl because she helped a friend to elope.

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