October 8, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
In yet another heinous case of ‘honour’ killing, a man along with his father doused kerosene on his pregnant wife and set her on fire in Gujrat. Both father and son have been arrested.
According to police, Zeeshan burnt alive his 3-month old pregnant wife Zainab, a mother of two infant daughters, at his home in Sukh Kalan village by pouring kerosene on her and ignited the kerosene along with his father Ihsan and sister who remains unidentified, on 29th September.
Police said the suspects had accused Zainab of having extra-marital relations but she denied the charge.
Zainab was married to Zeeshan five years ago and had two daughters Aman Fatima and Shanzay. Speaking to Voicepk.net, Muhammad Boota, father of Zainab, said his son-in-law was pressurising her daughter to get her inheritance share from them in order to start a business. Besides, the in-laws were also troubled that Zainab had given birth to two daughters already and feared that she might give birth to a third daughter, he added.
Boota claimed that his son-in-law had threatened to kill his daughter in a call to him a few hours before the incident.
“My daughter was burnt alive but her in-laws did not take her to a hospital and she died at her in-law’s house,” Boota confirmed.
The father said they came to know of the incident the next morning.
“My son Bakhtawar and son-in-law Saifullah paid a visit to Zainab’s house on the day and were a witness to the late-night incident,” Boota said. They could not help Zainab as they were asleep on the rooftop and the door to the stairs was locked, he added.
Boota said Zainab’s daughters were in the custody of her in-laws.
According to police, both families did not report the incident immediately but later when they quarrelled over the burial of the deceased woman. Zainab’s parents wanted to take her body to their home in Daska while the husband wanted to bury her in Gujrat.
Some neighbours informed the police which shifted the body to the Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital where doctors conducted the autopsy.
Police lodged a case against three suspects, including a sister of Zeeshan, under sections 302, 147 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Investigation Officer Waseem told Voicepk.net that the two suspects would be presented before a court for remand tomorrow (Saturday). He said police had recorded statements of the two eyewitnesses Bakhtawar and Saifullah in the case. He said three unidentified suspects had also been nominated in the case while the complainant has not named the sister nominated in the FIR.
“Zeeshan has several sisters, and once complainant gives the identity of the one involved, police would include her in the investigation,” he said.
Police said both suspects have confessed to the murder claiming they suspected the victim of having relations with a villager.
According to Punjab police, 237 incidents of honour killings were registered in the province last year. Out of the total, seven honour killings occurred in Gujrat district.
In 2016, parliament passed legislation to introduce strict punishment for honour killings in Pakistan. Under the law, relatives of the victim would only be able to pardon the killer if he is sentenced to capital punishment.
However, the culprit would still face a mandatory life sentence of twelve-and-a-half years.
However, international and local human rights activists have expressed concern at the spate of honour killings despite the law. In a study on honour killings in Pakistan, the National Commission on Human Rights had recommended that honour killings should be made a crime against the State and it must be taken out of the ambit of Qisas so that guardian/blood relatives of a victim cannot waive the punishment.