A man claimed he was set on fire by his wife and brother-in-law on Sunday.
According to police officials, Alampur resident Qasim had recently quarreled with his wife and turned her out of the house. Neighbours of the family said that the couple had been quarrelling over finances for months after Qasim had lost his job as a construction worker.
“They had no money and he wasn’t looking for a new job. She threatened to leave him a few times and he beat her so she left him a week ago,” said Rafia Bibi. Ayesha went to her parents house in a neighbouring village and Qasim went to bring her back home.
According to police officials, Qasim told them that his wife Ayesha and her brother Shahid had sprinkled petrol on him and set him on fire when he tried to bring her back.
“We have filed a case on Qasim’s statement but now he is in the hospital,” said Shah Rukne Alam Station House Officer (SHO) Gulzar Tulla said. “His wife and brother say that he set fire to himself once she refused to leave with him,” he added.
“I refused to go with him because he still didn’t have a job and he had abused me. When I kept refusing he threatened to kill himself and later he sprinkled the oil on himself,” Ayesha told police officials.
Hospital officials have said that Qasim is in critical condition. “He has suffered 70 per cent burns to his entire body and can barely breathe. We have tried to stabilise him and he has been admitted to the burns unit,” said Nishtar Hospital Dr Abdullah Farrukh Khan.
Khan told police that he could not confirm if Qasim had set the fire himself or if he had been burned. “The burns are mostly second degree and third degree burns so it is unlikely that he will survive,” he added.
Police officials have registered a case and taken Ayesha and her brother in for questioning. “I did not kill him. All I did was refuse to leave with him and my brother was not even at home when the incident happened,” Ayesha said.
Police officials said that they were investigating the case and questioning all the witnesses. “We have begun taking statements from Qasim’s family as well as Ayesha’s family. The case has been registered on Qasim’s statement and his wife has been taken into custody,” the SHO said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011.