Society

Teenager Dies After Being Burned For Rejecting Marriage

| by Jordan Smith
Punjab chief minister Shahbaz SharifPunjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif

A teenager from Pakistan died on June 1 as a result of an attack in which she was set on fire by five assailants.

Maria Sadaqat, 19, reportedly refused a marriage proposal and was confronted by five attackers when she returned home from her job as a teacher, according to AFP.

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She was taken to a hospital where doctors found burns on 85 percent her body.

“She was badly tortured and then burned alive,” Abdul Basit, Sadaqat’s uncle, told AFP. "We brought her to hospital in Islamabad but she succumbed to her wounds today."

Sadaqat’s family held a protest outside the hospital, where allegations were made that she did not receive adequate treatment.

Punjab, India, chief minister Shahbaz Sharif announced an investigation into the teenager’s death, Daily Pakistan reports.

Before she died, Sadaqat made a statement to police telling them she could identify two of her attackers, according to AFP.

“We have arrested at least one of the accused and a hunt is on for the rest,” Mazhar Iqbal, the police officer leading the murder investigation, said.

Sadaqat’s father said the owner of the school where Sadaqat worked was among her attackers, BBC reports.

Authorities say the men beat her before throwing gasoline over her and setting her alight

“The poor woman was becoming better but then could not survive because most parts of her body had serious burn injuries,” said Ayesha Ihsani, a doctor at the hospital in Islamabad, according to AFP.

The family is under pressure by local elders to settle the case out of court.

“They have taken away my universe, why was she brutally murdered?," Maria's mother told BBC. "How can they not feel any compassion?” 

Hundreds of women are killed by male relatives each year, reports the Daily Pakistan. The justification given for many of these crimes is the defense of family “honor.”

In 2015, a reported 1,100 women were victims of “honor” killings, BBC reports. However, most killings. are not reported, suggesting the real figure could be much higher.

In February, Punjab province, where Sadaqat was attacked, passed a law criminalizing violence against women. However, a number of religious groups protested against it and demanded it be overturned.

Sources: AFP via Express Tribune, Daily Pakistan, BBC / Photo credit: Daily Pakistan