Thursday January 24, 2019

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.
  • 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

ALSO READ:

  • 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

Women In Afghanistan Fear Recurring Oppression If Taliban Becomes Part Of The Government

In Afghanistan the women are no more the women from 20 years back,” said the 28-year-old, who was in her first year of school when the Taliban took power

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Afghanistan, Women
Afghan women line up to cast their votes during a parliamentary election at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 21, 2018. VOA

Eighteen years ago, at the height of the Taliban’s power in Afghanistan, Roshan Mashal secretly taught her daughters to read and write alongside a dozen local girls who smuggled schoolbooks to her house in potato sacks.

Mashal’s daughters have since gained university degrees in economics and medicine. But she now fears the looming prospect that the hard-line Islamist group, whose rule barred women from education, could once again become part of the government.

“They say they have changed, but I have concerns,” she said in an interview in her office in Kabul. “There is no trust … we don’t want peace to come with women losing all the achievements of the last 17 years.”

Fears freedoms will be lost

As talks to end Afghanistan’s long war pick up momentum, women such as Mashal fear the freedoms eked out since U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001 are about to slide backwards, and complain their voices are being sidelined.

Women, Afghanistan
Afghan first lady Rula Ghani stands backstage during the 2017 Asia Game Changer Awards and Gala Dinner in New York, Nov. 1, 2017. VOA

An aide to Rula Ghani, the wife of Afghanistan’s president, said the first lady had launched a survey of women in 34 provinces in a bid to amplify their voices in the peace process, with a report summarizing their views slated for February.

“The war was started by men, the war will be ended by men,” said the aide. “But it’s the women and children who suffer the most and they have a right to define peace.”

Women, children suffer

Almost two decades of war have implicated both sides in the suffering of women. The United Nations last year expressed alarm at the increased use of airstrikes by U.S. and Afghan forces, which caused a rising death toll among women and children.

Afghanistan is still not an easy place to be a woman, with forced marriages, domestic violence and high maternal mortality rates prevalent nationwide, and particularly in rural areas, according to gender equality advocates.

But access to public life has improved, especially in cities such as the capital Kabul, where many women work outside the home and more than a quarter of the parliament is female.

Afghanistan, women
Afghan women cheer during the final match of the Afghan football premier league in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 18, 2012. VOA

But women lawmakers and some foreign diplomats fear enshrining gender equality may take a backseat in any peace deal to the intense international focus on ending fighting and eliminating the country’s potential as a haven for militants to launch attacks overseas.

“That is the threshold. The question is how much they will accept the position of women deteriorating in the process,” said a senior Western diplomat in Kabul whose country funds projects to empower women. “There may be some backsliding, but hopefully not all the way back.”

Between 1996 and 2001, under the Taliban government that called itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, women were banned from work, required to wear the full-length burqa that covered their faces, and not allowed to leave the house without a male relative.

The Taliban say they have changed, and that they would allow women to be educated, though they say schools should be segregated by gender and women required to wear loose clothing.

“We want Afghanistan to move forward with its present achievements and developments. But there are some reforms and changes the Emirate will struggle for,” spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told Reuters last month.

Afghanistan, Women
Afghan women’s rights activist Wazhma Frogh adjusts her scarf during an interview in her office in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 5, 2014. A gender and development specialist and human rights activist, Frogh says for Afghan women, the successes are fragile. VOA

Words not enough

That is not enough to assuage the fears of women such as Karima Rahimyaar. She is the main provider for her family after her first husband was shot and killed by the Taliban in Kunduz province in 1996 and her second was injured and left unable to work after being imprisoned by them around three year ago.

She regularly comforts her university-aged daughters, who feel sick when they hear gunshots or mention of the Taliban.

“It is very difficult for me,” she said.

Like many Afghans, she is desperate for peace and wants an end to the near-daily attacks across the country, which claimed the life of her 32-year-old son, a police officer, in 2016.

But not, she says, at the expense of women’s rights.

“If there are no agreements and commitments, women will be inside the home and they will be deprived of everything,” she said.

Afghanistan, Women