Mehmood Kot police have told three men accused of killing a girl by setting her on fire not to leave the town until investigation of the case was complete.
Police said the men mentioned in the FIR were not arrested because Khadim Hussain, the principal suspect, had obtained an interim bail from a court on July 21 after the death of his nephew’s second wife, Asma Bibi, 18.
Investigation Officer Rana Javed said they were investigating the case and if needed would request the court to cancel the bail. He said he believed the girl may have died of burns suffered from a fire started by a cigarette.
The FIR accuses Khadim Hussain, his brother Hashim Hussain and nephew Rab Nawaz (husband of the deceased), residents of Qasba Gujrat, of killing the girl.
The case was registered on July 20 by Muhammad Qadeer, brother of the deceased and a resident of Karimabad area, for attempted murder. The murder charge was added after Asma Bibi’s death on July 21 (Saturday).
Asma Bibi had died after remaining under treatment for burn injuries at Nishter Hospital for 11 days. She was hospitalised on July 10, four days after she was burned in her sleep on July 6. Qadeer said Khadim Hussain had set her on fire.
Doctors who treated her at Nishtar Hospital told The Express Tribune that over 70 per cent of her body, including both legs and abdomen, were burned. They said her condition had been critical by the time she was hospitalised. The girl remained on life support for two days before passing away, they added. They said the treatment given to the deceased before hospitalisation had aggravated her condition.
In her statement to the media at the hospital, the deceased had accused Khadim Hussain of setting her on fire. She had said that she was sleeping when the suspect, a neighbour, broke into her house and set her on fire after dousing her with kerosene oil.
Speaking to The Express Tribune at Asma Bibi’s funeral prayers, her husband Rab Nawaz, alleged that his uncle borne her a grudge ever since their marriage four months ago. “My first wife was related to my uncle. He wanted me to go back to her,” he said. He said she had left him for another man in the neighbourhood. “They eloped about eight months ago and settled in another village,” he added.
He said Khadim Hussain would frequently try to persuade him to go to his first wife’s and ask her to return.
He said he was not home when Asma Bibi was burned.
Complainant Qadeer insisted that all three men were involved in his sister’s killing. He said her in-laws had not informed her family about the incident. “We found out about her condition through a neighbour when she was taken to Nishter Hospital,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2012.