Lahore: A mother in Pakistan was on Tuesday sentenced to death for burning alive her 18-year-old daughter after she eloped and got married without the family's consent, months after the Parliament passed a new law making the punishment for 'honour killing' more stringent.
The girl, Zeenat Rafiq, was set on fire by her mother Parveen Bibi in June 2016, a week after she eloped with a man, Hasan Khan, to marry him before a court here. Parveen had earlier confessed she had murdered her daughter for "bringing shame to the family". Police had suspected that Parveen was helped by her son in killing the girl.
Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) judge Azam Chaudhry sentenced Parveen to death in the 'honour killing' case, and sentenced Zeenat's brother Anees to life in prison, the Dawn reported. It was revealed in court that Zeenat's mother and brothers had first beaten her, then her mother threw kerosene on her and set her on fire.
Parveen who appeared in court on Tuesday accepted responsibility for Zeenat's death. Zeenat's husband, Hasan Khan last June had agreed to let his wife return to her home after her family promised, in the days before her murder, to organise a traditional wedding reception for the couple. He earlier told the media that Zeenat was not willing to go back to her parents' home because she feared they would kill her. "But she agreed after her family gave assurances regarding her safety," he had said.
After Zeenat was set on fire in a low-income neighbourhood of Lahore, none of her relatives sought to claim her body, police said, leaving her husband’s family to bury her charred remains in the dark in a graveyard near the city.
Pakistan's National Assembly in October last year passed a much-anticipated new law that mandates a stiff penalty for those convicted of so-called honor killings and closes a legal loophole that has permitted the families of those who commit honor killings to forgive the perpetrator. The new law mandates a minimum 25-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of carrying out an honor killing, and prohibits families of victims from forgiving the killer - common occurrence in these tragic crimes.