The Associated Press (AP) reported that 17-year-old Zeenat Rafiq, a Punjabi Pakistani was burned alive by her mother, with the help of her brother.
Her punishment for eloping with a Pashtun Pakistani man against her family’s will, resulted in her death.
After she eloped her family reached out to her, convincing her that they would throw her a party. Her new husband, Hassan Khan, told the AP:
Don’t let me go, they will kill me.”
She was right. First she was beaten and strangled. Then her mother, Parveen, tied her to a bed, and poured kerosene on her. Then Parveen set her daughter, Zeenat, on fire, according to The Guardian.
Zeenat’s body was found charred by the police who got a confession from the mother. Parveen admitted to killing her daughter with the help of her son, Ahmar.
And, the officer overseeing the case, Sheikh Hammad, said the mother said, “I don’t have any regrets.”
Parveen’s son, Ahmar, is in hiding according to CNN.
Zeenat is not the only one.
The previous week, a schoolteacher, Maria Bibi, was set on fire for refusing to marry a man twice her age. Pakistani police arrested the father of the man she refused to marry and four others.
The previous month, 17-year-old Ambreen Riasat was strangled to death and set on fire– for helping her friend elope. Thirteen members of a “tribal council” were arrested for her murder.
Referred to has “honor killings,” and murder in the United States. In Pakistan, the law states that family members of the victim “are allowed to forgive the killer,” which requires the prosecutors to drop charges against the killer. But, this law doesn’t bring the family member to justice for killing their daughter, niece, brother, sister, or cousin.
The AP reported that when neighbors heard the screams, several ran to Zennat’s house, but her family members wouldn’t let them in to help or save her. The family members actually stood in front of the door, barring anyone from entry.
Although honor killings are frequent in Pakistan, the murder of Zeenat, caused the chief minister of Punjam, Shahbaz Sharif, (the Prime Minister’s brother, Nawaz Sharif) to change the law. He committed to close a loophole in Islamic law so that the perpetrators of “honor killings” are not released.
June 9, 2016