By Waqar Mustafa
LAHORE, Pakistan, Jan 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A court in Pakistan sentenced a mother to death on Monday for burning her daughter alive as punishment for marrying without the family’s consent.
Parveen Bibi confessed before a special court in the city of Lahore to killing her daughter in June for what she said was “bringing shame to the family.”
Police said 18-year-old Zeenat Rafiq married Hassan Khan and eloped to live with his family a week before she was killed.
The court sentenced Rafiq’s brother Anees to life in prison after the evidence showed her mother and brother had first beaten her, before her mother threw kerosene on her and set her on fire.
After Rafiq’s murder in a poor district of Lahore, none of her relatives sought to claim her body, police said, leaving her husband’s family to bury her charred remains after dark in a graveyard near the city.
Violence against women is rampant in Pakistan, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Citing media reports, it said there were more than 1,100 “honor killings” in 2015.
Pakistan’s parliament passed legislation against “honor killings” in October, three months after the murder of outspoken social media star Qandeel Baloch. Her brother was arrested in relation to her strangling death in July.
Perceived damage to a family’s “honor” can involve eloping, fraternizing with men or other breaches of conservative values.
In most cases, the victim is a woman and the killer is a relative who escapes punishment by seeking forgiveness for the crime from family members.
Under the new law, relatives can forgive convicts in the case of a death sentence, but they would still have to face a mandatory life sentence.
(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org.)