Burning concerns: Five-year-old set on fire by mother

Published: November 14, 2011
Razia set fire to herself and her sons during a 
wedding; guests took Faizan to the hospital.

Razia set fire to herself and her sons during a wedding; guests took Faizan to the hospital.


A woman set her five-year-old son on fire after she had a quarrel with her husband two days ago.

According to police officials, the child was admitted to a hospital and the woman was arrested following the incident. Jinnah Road resident Razia Bibi and her husband Irfan often quarreled over their financial situation. “They had many arguments about the fact that he wasn’t earning enough and he had accused her of infidelity,” said Razia’s neighbour Sadia Bibi. “She told me that he suspected that their son wasn’t his and had questioned her about his paternity,” she told police officials.

On Friday night, while Irfan’s brother Asif was getting married, Razia sprinkled petrol on herself and her two children and set fire.  “Wedding guests rushed to put out the fire and they managed to save her and one of her son’s but the older boy was badly burned,” said a wedding guest Rafeeq.

When questioned by the police, Razia said that she had been forced into her marriage six years ago and that her husband was abusive. “He does not earn enough and most of the time we don’t even have enough to eat. He has also accused me of cheating on him even though he has had several affairs,” she told police.

Razia said that she had lost all patience with Irfan and when he insisted that she and her children attend his brother’s wedding to keep up appearances she set herself on fire. “He even questioned my son’s paternity,” she added.

Model Town police arrested Razia and have registered a case against her. Police officials said that they were questioning Irfan and his family. “I don’t know what compelled her to do it.

What kind of mother burns her own child,” Irfan said. “She is mentally unstable and I don’t want her near my children,” he added. Police officials said that they were still investigating the details of the case.

“He says that she was mentally unstable but several neighbours have said that he was abusive and had tried to kill the children himself before,” investigation In-charge Muhammad Arif said.

Hospital officials at the DHQ hospital said that Faizan had suffered 40 per cent third degree burns. “He is in serious conditions and we have admitted him to the burns unit after treating him in the emergency ward for two days,” Dr Abdullah said. “Faizan has sustained serious burns to his face and his vision may have been permanently compromised,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • muhammad asad
    Nov 14, 2011 - 11:36AM

    instead of crying about how her husband didn’t earn enough this woman should have gotten off her high horse and got a job herself and earned a living for once in her life.This moaning and crying about husbands not earning enough will get women nowhere,instead of complaining and whining they should learn to take care of their own expenses instead of depending on men to pay for their every expense.
    the husband in this case is no angel but it’s time the women started to take responsibility for their own needs instead of freeloading off men.


  • Pakistani Hindu
    Nov 14, 2011 - 11:41AM



  • Expat
    Nov 14, 2011 - 2:53PM

    @muhammad asad: You say that the woman should have looked for some work herself instead of relying on the husband. However, we also have to keep in mind that in our society women are not easily allowed to work! Maybe the woman was ready to work to earn some money to keep her children fed, but the husband did not allow it and even beat her to stop her (neighbors have reported that he was abusive!).

    The point is that one can only imagine what that woman must have gone through to come to a point where she would plan to kill her children and commit suicide!! Remember that she did not just set fire to her children; she also attempted suicide herself but was saved. It is a very sad news, and now the woman is being labelled as mentally unstable!


  • MarkH
    Nov 14, 2011 - 8:14PM

    Setting yourself on fire is one thing. Setting someone else on fire, especially a child, even if you intended to do the same is completely different. Do you have any idea how painful that death is? Go burn just your finger severely and see how long you’re complaining about it afterwards. The man was probably insane but the reaction is not appropriate for any sane person.Recommend

  • Aamir
    Nov 15, 2011 - 2:07AM

    No matter what she should have taken such a drastic step, I pray for the well-being of poor child who may have lost his vision.


  • A Pakistani
    Nov 15, 2011 - 10:50AM

    sad sad story. A few get reported. Thanks to Tribune, for trying to keep our conscience alive.


  • Lauren
    Nov 15, 2011 - 10:22PM

    @muhammad asad: this woman should have gotten off her high horse and got a job herself and earned a living for once in her life

    Unless she gets permission from her husband or father, how can she work? Almost seems like muslim women need permission to even breathe or blink.


  • Falcon
    Nov 16, 2011 - 8:48AM

    This is a very sad incident. I would like to highlight its not that Muslim women need permission to even help out the family. There are other issues that make it difficult. For example, babycare / baby sitting industry is not that well developed taking into consideration the issue of security. Women are under-skilled and need to be educated on opportunities. But before that, In a country where skilled people and college graduates are jobless and significant portion of the population is living under poverty line, it is not easy for under-skilled people to find jobs. End of the day, many of these problems can be boiled down to economic issues. No body becomes a nut job over night. It seems that the poor woman and children had to go through a lot before getting to this point. May God help their family in getting through this tragedy.


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