Burned alive: Teenage girl set ablaze in van

Body burnt beyond recognition; police unclear how victim got to car.

Our Correspondent April 30, 2016
The charred remains of two vehicles set ablaze in Galiyat. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ABBOTTABAD: A teenage girl was burnt alive when unidentified people set two vehicles ablaze in a village in Galiyat, police said on Friday.

Sources said over eight vehicles were parked by the roadside in Makol Paeyen village when two of them were set on fire. "Locals tried to put out the blaze but it was so intense that the vehicles burnt to a crisp," Galiyat DSP Jamilur Rehman told The Express Tribune.

He added when the flames were finally put out, villagers found the charred body of a teenage girl in the backseat of one of the high-roof vans. The policeman said the female was inside the vehicle when it was set on fire at 3:30am; the body was burned beyond recognition.

The DSP said an announcement was made via loudspeaker, asking villagers to come and identify the remains. A couple of hours later, a boy appeared and said the girl was his sister. She was identified as Ambreen Bibi alias Halima, 15, the daughter of Riasat Khan of the same village.

Rehman quoted Halima's brother as saying all family members were in the TV room around 10pm Thursday night when there was a power outage. He said all of them, including Halima, went to their rooms.

However, Friday morning when Halima failed to turn up to the kitchen for breakfast, their mother went to the room to call her. However, the girl was missing by then.

The DSP said family members identified Halima from the bangles and sandals she was wearing as well as her partially burnt diary.

Rehman said the police were yet to determine how she got to the vehicle and whether this was an accident or a planned criminal act. He quoted some of her family members as saying she quit school two years ago and suffered from a mental  illness. He said the mobile forensic laboratory had been called to gather evidence and the owners of both cars were being questioned.

Meanwhile, another police source, requesting anonymity, said the half burnt diary of the victim indicated she was a student of grade nine at a local school.

The official, who had plenty of experience of dealing with unsolved murders, believed she was taken to the high-roof by someone who tied her to the backseat and raped her. The official said the culprit set the vehicle on fire to avoid the evidence of the rape.  The source said the other high roof was also completely burnt, while four other vehicles parked close by were partially damaged.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2016.


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