Saturday September 22, 2018

An 18 year-old school teacher set ablaze after refusing a marriage proposal in Pakistan

Independent Human Rights Commissionof Pakistan records 76 cases of women being set on fire

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Last year in 2015, in a similar incident a Pakistani woman was 'set on fire for refusing marriage proposal' and died in Multan, Pakistan.
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  • 18 year-old school teacher based in Punjab province of Pakistan died of burn injuries
  • On June 1, police arrested three people in Islamabad in connection with the killing
  • The provincial government has set up a three-member team to investigate the case

ISLAMABAD- Police reported on Thursday, June 2 that an 18 year-old school teacher based in Punjab province of Pakistan died of burn injuries after she was set on fire for refusing a marriage proposal.

Her family members told that the perpetrators beat Maria Abbasi, then drenched her in petrol and set her ablaze before leaving her for dead, reported CNN.

Maria Abbasi was baby-sitting a younger sister near Murree, Pakistan. Image source: 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.

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“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.”

Violence on women: A Pakistani teenager Aamna Bibi, seen here as she is taken to hospital on Thursday, has died from her injuries after setting herself on fire when police set free her alleged rapists in 2014. Image source: Reuters
Violence on women: A Pakistani teenager Aamna Bibi, seen here as she is taken to hospital on Thursday, has died from her injuries after setting herself on fire when police set free her alleged rapists in 2014. Image source: Reuters

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.

Nabeela Ghazafar, Punjab Police spokesman said, three people were arrested on Wednesday, June 1 in Islamabad in connection with the killing. 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.

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According to the report from independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, there have been 76 cases of women being set on fire. Commission also said that violence against women remains rampant in the country.

-prepared by Bhaskar Raghavendran (with inputs from VOA), a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter: bhaskar_ragha

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Surely not accepted by anybody. Pakistan needs to look into women safety issues

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Why these people cannot absorb a rejection? .. Women aren’t any object… They have the right to make their own decisions.. People generally argue that these sort of things happen on the spur of the moment.. This is nuisance.. In India also, people talk about women empowerment on one side and on the other side cases of acid attacks show up ruining the lives of innocent girls.. This is too much to bear

  • Shubhi Mangla

    This is shameful!! Just because she didn’t want to marry that person she was set ablaze..pathetic! The police should punish the culprits ASAP. I hope the authorities don’t take this matter casually just like the many other crimes that go unattended.

  • devika todi

    it is shameful that such things still happen in the world. don’t we have a say in matters that concern us and our entire life? should anyone be harmed, if their decision goes against our wishes?
    this is barbaric.

  • sahil nandwani

    It is very dissapointing! The women’s should not be harmed like this the police should take strict actions agaist such kind of persons.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Surely not accepted by anybody. Pakistan needs to look into women safety issues

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Why these people cannot absorb a rejection? .. Women aren’t any object… They have the right to make their own decisions.. People generally argue that these sort of things happen on the spur of the moment.. This is nuisance.. In India also, people talk about women empowerment on one side and on the other side cases of acid attacks show up ruining the lives of innocent girls.. This is too much to bear

  • Shubhi Mangla

    This is shameful!! Just because she didn’t want to marry that person she was set ablaze..pathetic! The police should punish the culprits ASAP. I hope the authorities don’t take this matter casually just like the many other crimes that go unattended.

  • devika todi

    it is shameful that such things still happen in the world. don’t we have a say in matters that concern us and our entire life? should anyone be harmed, if their decision goes against our wishes?
    this is barbaric.

  • sahil nandwani

    It is very dissapointing! The women’s should not be harmed like this the police should take strict actions agaist such kind of persons.

Next Story

The Other Side of “Hindu Pakistan”

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province

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Hinduism
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Sagarneel Sinha

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country. BJP didn’t let the opportunity go by launching a scathing attack on Tharoor and his party for insulting Hindus and Indian democracy, forcing the Congress party to distance itself from its own MP’s comment. Only one year is left for the next general elections and in a politically polarised environment such comments serve as masala for political battles where perception is an important factor among the electorates.

Actually, Tharoor, through his statement, is trying to convey that “India may become a
fundamentalist state just like its neighbour — Pakistan”. Tharoor is a shrewd politician and his remarks are mainly for political gains. The comments refer to our neighbour going to polls on 25 th of this month which has a long history of ignoring minorities where the state institutions serve as a tool for glorifying the religious majority bloc and ridiculing the minorities. This compelled me to ponder about the participation of the Hindus — the largest minority bloc of the country, in the upcoming polls.

There are total 37 reserved seats for minorities in Pakistan — 10 in the National Assembly
(Lower House), 4 in the Senate (Upper House) and 23 in various state legislatures — 9 in the Sindh assembly, 8 in Punjab and 3 each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistani Hindus, like other minorities have the dual voting rights in principle. But the reality is they have no rights to vote for their own representatives as the seats are reserved — means the distribution of these seats are at the discretion of parties’ leadership. Practically speaking, these reserved seats are meant for political parties not for minorities. In case of general seats, it is almost impossible for a Hindu candidate to win until and unless supported by the mainstream parties of the country. The bitter truth is — the mainstream parties have always ignored the Hindus by hesitating to field them from general seats. In 2013, only one Hindu candidate — Mahesh Kumar from the Tharparkar district won from a general seat, also became the only minority candidate to make it to the National Assembly from a general seat. This time too, he is nominated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — a major centre-left party of Pakistan. However, there are no other Hindu candidates for a general seat from the two other significant centre-right parties — former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Tehreek-E-Insaf (PTI). Although, there is a Hindu candidate named Sanjay Berwani from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — a Karachi (capital of Sindh province) based secular centrist party of Pakistan.

Shashi_tharoor
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is
elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country.

The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures. It means that despite the state’s hostile policies, Hindus have been able to remain stable in a highly Islamist polarised society. 90% of the Hindu population of the country lives in the Sindh province. Hindu population in Umerkot,Tharparkar and Mirpur Khas districts of the Sindh province stands at 49%, 46% and 33% respectively — making them the only three substantial Hindu districts of the country. The three districts have 5 National Assembly and 13 Provincial seats. However, Hindus have never well represented from these seats.

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province. Many of them belong to the Schedule caste — the Dalit community. A recent report based on Pakistan Election Commission’s data says that out of 2.5 lakh women of Tharparkar district, around 2 lakh of them are not included in the electoral list — means that they are not entitled to vote for the upcoming general elections. All over the country, there are about 1.21 crore women voters who will not be able to vote in the elections. The reason is the lack of an identity card. Most of them are poor who are unable to pay the expenses required for an identity card. This has made difficult for independent Hindu Dalit candidates like Sunita Parmar and Tulsi Balani as most of their supporters will not be voting in the upcoming polls. In Tharparkar district, around 33% percent are the Hindu Dalits — brushed aside by the mainstream parties. The reserved seat candidates are based on party nominations, where mainly the upper caste Hindus are preferred. Radha Bheel, a first time contestant and the chairperson of Dalit Suhaag Tehreek (DST), a Dalit organisation, says that the fight is for the rights of the lower socio-economic class and scheduled castes. Sunita, Tulsi, Radha and the other independent Hindu candidates know
that the possibility of winning from the general seats is bleak but for them the contest is for their own identity — an identity never recognised by the political parties and the establishment of Pakistan.