After Daughter Elopes, Mother Burns Her to Death

Zeenat Rafiq was doused in kerosene and set on fire
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2016 7:06 AM CDT
Hassan Khan shows a picture of his wife Zeenat Rafiq, who was burned alive, at his home in Lahore, Pakistan Wednesday, June 8, 2016. A woman was arrested after dousing her daughter with kerosene and burning...   (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

(Newser) – A Punjabi mother in Lahore, Pakistan, was so enraged when her daughter married an ethnic Pashtun that she tricked her into returning home, doused her with kerosene, and set her on fire, reports the Guardian. "After killing her daughter, Perveen went out on the street, took off her shawl and started beating herself on her chest, shouting: 'People! I have killed my daughter for misbehaving and giving our family a bad name," a family member says. The body of Zeenat Rafiq, who was 18, was found with signs of strangulation and torture, police tell the BBC. "Her mother has confessed to the crime but we find it hard to believe that a 50-year-old woman committed this act all by herself with no help from the family members," says a police superintendent; a brother is described as "on the run" and is being sought.

Rafiq's husband, Hassan Khan, says she'd been tricked into going home when her mother told her the family wanted to throw a proper wedding and her uncle assured her he would protect her. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which was "aghast" at the similar murder of a 16-year-old girl in May, reports that so-called "honor killings" are on the rise, with nearly 1,100 women killed by relatives in Pakistan last year alone, and still more by non-family members. While most of these murders go unreported, this case is garnering attention because it comes on the heels of two other recent cases. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has pledged to close a legal loophole that allows killers to avoid prosecution if family members forgive them. (The girl killed in May helped a friend elope in a frowned-upon marriage for love.)

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