Islamabad, June 2 (IANS) An 18-year-old school teacher in Pakistan’s Punjab province died of burn injuries after she was set on fire for refusing a marriage proposal, police said on Thursday.
The perpetrators beat Maria Abbasi, then drenched her in petrol and set her ablaze before leaving her for dead on Monday night, her family members told CNN.
“Maria was at her home in Murree town baby-sitting her five-year-old sister while her family had gone to attend a funeral in a nearby town,” said Rafaqat Abbasi, her uncle.
“At the funeral, her family was alerted that she ‘was on fire’. Initially they thought there had been some accident, perhaps a pipe had burst or something.”
When the family returned home, they saw Maria lying on the floor, with 85 per cent of her body covered in burns, the uncle said.
Maria was taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, where she later succumbed on Wednesday.
Three people were arrested on Wednesday in Islamabad in connection with the killing, said Nabeela Ghazanfar, Punjab Police spokesman.
An arrest warrant is out for a fourth individual, she added.
The provincial government has set up a three-member team to investigate the case.
Violence against women remains rampant in the country, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
In 2015, police formally investigated 76 cases of women being set on fire, according to the commission’s latest report.