A man sprinkled petrol on his cousin and set her on fire after she refused to marry him.
According to police officials, Kunjah Moza Dharuwal resident Qaiser Abbas was engaged to his uncle’s daughter Asma, 22, after her husband passed away. Asma’s family disapproved the match and she recently remarried Mukhtar. “Qaiser wanted to marry her but we refused the match. He has a reputation as a thug and our daughter has four children,” Asma’s mother Sughran Bibi said. “Qaiser had refused to keep her children and was forcing her to marry him. He kept threatening her,” she told police.
On Sunday afternoon, Asma was alone at home when her cousin Qaiser broke into the house and locked her in a room. According to Asma’s neighbours they entered the house after they heard her screaming. “We heard her calling out for help and when we got there we saw that he had set her on fire,” neighbour Faiza said.
Asma’s parents said that she had been receiving threats from Qaiser for several months. “He knew that we would not let her marry him and she was opposed to the match as well,” Asma’s father Saqib said, adding “We even had to conduct her marriage in secret. We didn’t tell anyone in the village and quietly performed her nikah with Mukhtar in Sargodha,” he added. Asma’s parents told police officials that when Qaiser discovered that she had been married in secret he came to their house and threatened to kill her. “We told the police that she needed protection. He also threatened us but we never thought he would really go through with it,” Saqib said.
Locals said that Qaiser came to Asma’s house in a neighbouring village. Her husband Mukhtar was at work at the time. “He locked her up in a room and set her on fire. Doctors have told us there is very little chance she will survive,” said Faiza.
According to Faiza, Asma went to visit Qaiser’s mother two days ago to ask her to intervene on her behalf. “She went to her aunt and told her to tell her son to stop harassing him. She was getting threatening phone calls every day and her husband had approached the police about the situation but it made no difference,” she added. The next day Qaiser broke into Asma’s house and burnt her.
Police officials said that they had registered a case on Sughran Bibi’s request. “We have begun an investigation and we are looking for Qaiser,” said station house officer (SHO) Anwar Sajjad. “The girl has been shifted to the hospital,” he added.
Asma was initially shifted to the Gujranwala DHQ hospital but doctors said that they did not have the resources to treat her. “She has suffered 80 percent third degree burns to her entire body. It is unlikely she will survive and we do not have the resources to treat her,” said Dr Imran Kashf. “She has been shifted to a hospital in Lahore and is being treated for her burn wounds, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.
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