'I want justice': Husband of Lahore teen murdered for honour

Published: June 9, 2016
Hassan Khan shows a document with a photograph of his wife Zeenat Bibi, who was burnt alive by her mother, at his residence in Lahore on June 8, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Hassan Khan shows a document with a photograph of his wife Zeenat Bibi, who was burnt alive by her mother, at his residence in Lahore on June 8, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: The husband of a 16-year-old girl who was murdered by her family in Lahore for marrying him vowed on Thursday to do whatever it took to get justice for his young wife.

Zeenat Bibi was set on fire Wednesday, a little over a week after she wed 20-year-old motorcycle mechanic Hasan Khan against the wishes of her family.

Her mother Perveen Bibi has admitted to the killing, though details of the brutal murder remain unclear. Early reports suggested she had been burnt alive though police now say she may have been asphyxiated first, with a post-mortem report not expected until later this month.

Mums comfort scared daughters after Lahore ‘honour killing’

Bibi’s charred remains were buried by her new husband’s family before dawn after none of her relatives sought to claim her body.

Speaking to AFP on Thursday, a visibly distraught Khan said: “I am determined to continue the legal proceedings against the family. I am after them, and my family is supporting me.

“It is my destiny now to bring her justice — if the accused are condemned it will bring calm and peace to my soul.”

Khan, who said he had met his wife while they were students at high school, also suggested that Perveen had been helped in the murder by her brother and son, and was covering up for them.

The case has drawn widespread outrage even in a country used to so-called “honour killings”, which account for hundreds of deaths every year.

It was also the third such case involving burning over a three-month span. An AFP reporter said Zeenat’s family home was closed and locked Thursday, as neighbours expressed their shock.

Zeenat had taught the Holy Quran to local children, and the mother of one told AFP her daughter was frightened after the killing.

Hurried funeral for girl set ablaze by mother for marrying man of choice

“Before sleeping she asked many questions: ‘Why was my teacher killed? Why did her mum kill her?'” said Rani Bibi — who shared the common last name with Zeenat’s family — of her ten-year-old Maham.

“I said, ‘Don’t worry. You are my beloved daughter.'”

Pakistan amended its criminal code in 2005 to prevent men who kill female relatives escaping punishment by pardoning themselves as an “heir” of the victim.

But it is left to a judge’s discretion to decide whether to impose a prison sentence when other relatives of the victim forgive the killer — a loophole which critics say is still exploited.

Leading opposition senator Sherry Rehman, who is also a prominent women’s rights activist, called on the government Thursday to pass a long-awaited bill aimed at amending the law.

“What is the reason for the delay? Three girls have been burnt to death — this is a scary new trend.

“It’s not as though we didn’t have thousands being killed before. It’s not as though the law will put an end to it but the state must put its full force into addressing the issue,” she told AFP.

Teenage girl burned alive by mother for marrying man of choice in Lahore

Rehman added that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised to push through legal reform after a documentary highlighting the issue won an Oscar in February, but had failed to act.

“I think they are pandering to the religious parties,” she said, referring to religious opposition parties who wield considerable influence beyond their representation in parliament, where they hold around five percent of seats.

Those who would kill in the name of honour “have increasing impunity — they can see that despite public anger it’s the hallowed halls of power are turning a blind eye,” she added.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Jun 9, 2016 - 8:45PM

    Sad news that innocent girl was burnt alive. The husband must be punished for marrying minor according to Pakistani law. Recommend

  • So many wrongs
    Jun 9, 2016 - 9:48PM

    The crimes of the mother are horrible.

    But a twenty-year-old marrying a 16-year-old (technically under-age) is not right either. I think it would be considered statutory rape (or something) in many countries, since 16 is considered not old enough to give consent to marriage, which I think is right. 16 is a very young, impressionable age.

    Address the honour killing.

    But also address how it is that such a marriage was permitted under our laws, as this can cause child abuse and other kinds of horror cases where grown men groom under-age girls. Recommend

  • Azi
    Jun 9, 2016 - 9:54PM

    And some one told me the new generation will be an educated one. Recommend

  • Tahir Khan
    Jun 10, 2016 - 12:07AM

    I only wish to see justice for this poor girl who dies a horrible death. Politics should not intervene in her justice. The person responsible for the death is the person who lit the fire, who threw inflammable petrol and any associates who helped. They are the ones who should pay the ultimate price for taking life. I hope in some logic this happens.Recommend

  • Hamza
    Jun 10, 2016 - 3:41AM

    Now where are those who were criticizing sharmeen obaid for potraying the so called bad image of ours….is our inage more imporntant than human lives??Recommend

  • NO
    Jun 10, 2016 - 4:53AM

    The Punjab assembly’s latest law is that a sixteen year girl can marry legally. Get yourself up-to-date.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqui
    Jun 10, 2016 - 6:03AM

    Move on, son. You will never get justice. Humanity is not the basis of life where you live. Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqui
    Jun 10, 2016 - 6:04AM

    @Azi: “And some one told me the new generation will be an educated one.”
    It was not the new generation that burned the poor girl.Recommend

  • Azi
    Jun 10, 2016 - 7:41AM

    @Adnan Siddiqui:

    “It was not the new generation that
    burned the poor girl.”

    Its the new generation silly enough to throw their future away at such a young age. With less than an average paying job and a girl at 16 years old, with no support of parents and relatives what do you think are the chances of this marriage being successful?

    The problem with Pakistani people, to them thinking outside the box is a SIN!Recommend

  • Karima Kurshid
    Jun 10, 2016 - 9:12AM

    When Sharmeen Chinoy made a film of the social ills in Pakistani society she was flagged for making Pakistan look bad as her critics claim that such rare acts never happen but if one woman is harmed that is too much, the Islamic Council of Pakistan has issued a justification that men can beat their wives softly to teach them a lesson. So where was the outrage by men all over Pakistan they can comment on the right age of women to marry and some are more interested in blaming the husband but offer no hope to women that are killed or abuse this is typical Pakistani mentality blame the West to detour the conversation of the Punjab assembly stalling women basic rights!Recommend

  • Libra
    Jun 10, 2016 - 9:28AM

    If murderers are not ‘influential’ or have political backing, justice may be done. Otherwise, forget.Recommend

  • Sami Khan
    Jun 10, 2016 - 10:20AM

    How can you marry a 16 year old girl. Even Western countries don’t allow that. Its definetly wrong to kill a girl but one can ask this motor mechanic how can you elope a girl into love marriage when you don’t earn alot of money. She is just 16 year old. She will realise this mistake after 10 years. Why do you do that?Recommend

  • naeem khan
    Jun 10, 2016 - 10:37AM

    The marriage was illegal it can be clearly seen from the affidevit that she declared herself to be 18 while her actual age was 16 the person should be arrested for marrying an minorRecommend

  • Anwaar
    Jun 10, 2016 - 11:01AM

    amazed to see comments on underage marriage… first in Punjab 16 is the legal age for a girl to marry as per law.. no law broken here … second even if we consider this as a mistake by the boy and girl both, doesn’t justify your comments on this as the matter is about burning alive of a HUMAN BEING! for God’s sake! Recommend

  • AAA
    Jun 10, 2016 - 11:49AM

    amazed to see comments on underage marriage… first in Punjab 16 is the legal age for a girl to marry as per law.. no law broken here … second even if we consider this as a mistake by the boy and girl both, doesn’t justify your comments on this as the matter is about burning alive of a HUMAN BEING! for God’s sake! Recommend

  • Blister
    Jun 10, 2016 - 12:29PM

    Shame on all the people of Pakistan who are focus send on punishing the young man who eloped with her. Shame on them for not talking about punishing the murderer of the young girl. Shame on them for not noticing the girl was murdered the day she was burnt not the day she was eloped. Children make mistakes but you cannot justify killing them for it. Stop blaming the young man for her murder. The killer was her own family. Recommend

  • Azi
    Jun 10, 2016 - 1:00PM


    No one is defending parents and their criminal act. Both parties are at fault. Backward conservative parents not opening up to the idea of marriage of choice and silly teenagers at least mentally leading their and their offspring lives to ruin with little to no support from their families. At that age they should be studying to make something out of themselves.

    Only if you people had the capacity to think for once, this nation might not linger in this sorry state.Recommend

  • Aamna
    Jun 10, 2016 - 2:47PM

    I am a girl myself but I will NOT support this girl or the guy. Instead of raising voice against ‘Honour killings’, try raising better children. Speaking against honour killings is pretty easy but also imagine yourselves in shoes of a man or woman who has worked hard to earn a good reputation in the society and then his/her girl elopes with a mechanic or perhaps his son gets a girl eloped with him & marries. I debated myself hard on this. Pardon me I am also not a regressive, religious fanatic but I kept questioning myself over & over again what would I do if my daughter does such a shameful thing. Yeah, right loving someone and wanting to marry him/her is and should be acceptable but it must be done through parent’s consent. This ‘madar pidar azaad’ mindset will get our 16 yr olds marry 20 yrs olds and thus only mindless production of babies (whom they won’t be able to provide quality life either) rather than innovation and progress. Recommend

  • Blister
    Jun 11, 2016 - 2:45AM

    If it was your child and you think that you are justified in burning or harming the child for this than you are the problem. You ARE regressive if this is the way you think. Shame!Recommend

  • Fizza
    Jun 11, 2016 - 5:30AM

    @Aamna As per my knowledge, the guy sent proposal to the family who refused it. Parents in our society consider children a commodity they own. They bring a son up as a retirement plan and a daughter nothing but a savoir of their so called “honor.” They are human and they can have normal desires. If she was liking a person and they wanted to get married through proper channel, what was the point of refusal. And even if you feel your daughter won’t be happy with the guy, aren’t their other ways out? We compel our daughter to do such an act. We won’t befriend them. We won’t try to understand them and we just want to be a dictator telling them what is right and what is wrong for them. Just try to imagine it. Imagine burning a child. No one with a little love in heart can do that. Just giving birth to a child does not make someone a mother. I do not even consider that murdered a true “mother” She is a shame.Recommend

  • Qaisarfarukh
    Jun 13, 2016 - 12:19AM

    According to law of the land there is no consent of the minor girl below the age of sixteen,but the brutal action of her mother would not be justified.Recommend

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