About three times a day, and maybe more, a Pakistani woman is killed for “dishonoring” her family. But to whom does the dishonor really go? How does a sentient human being, with malice aforethought, brutally murder anyone, much less his or her own child or sister? What are we to do with people so threatened and upset by love that they douse their kin in kerosene and light the fateful match?
A woman in Pakistan burned her 17-year-old daughter alive on Wednesday to punish her for marrying against the family’s wishes, the latest in a series of so-called “honor killings” that claim the lives of nearly 1,000 women every year in the conservative Muslim country.
Police say Zeenat Rafiq’s mother, Parveen, tied her to a cot and drenched her with kerosene before lighting her on fire. Neighbors in the congested, working-class neighborhood in the eastern city of Lahore came running when they heard the screams, but family members kept them from entering the house, said Nighat Bibi, who lives nearby.
The police eventually arrived and found the charred body near a staircase. They arrested the mother soon thereafter. …
According to the BBC,
Ms. Rafiq and her husband, Hassan Khan, married a week ago through the courts after eloping. They went to live with his family.
“When she told her parents about us, they beat her so severely she was bleeding from her mouth and nose,” Mr. Khan told BBC Urdu.
“Her family lured her back, promising reconciliation and a proper wedding reception. She was afraid, she said ‘they are not going to spare me’. She didn’t want to go but my family convinced her. How were we to know they would kill her like this?”
If you’ll recall, just a month ago, Ambreen Riasat, another Pakistani teenager, died in a similar way. Her body
… was found in a burned van in the tourist resort of Donga Gali on April 29, the Associated Press reported. … A graphic photo of the teenager’s charred remains quickly circulated online. It appeared as though the girl’s arms had been bound before she was set on fire. [Police] said the entire village council had sanctioned the act to send a message to other minors.“They said she must be burnt alive to make a lesson for other girls.”
I want to say that the killers are animals, but animals don’t kill their own for perceived slights against their tribal and religious “honor.”
(Image via the BBC)