Young Pakistani woman dies after being tortured and burned alive for turning down a marriage proposal

 A young Pakistani Muslim woman died on Wednesday after she was brutally tortured and set alight in the country’s conservative northeast for refusing a marriage proposal from the son of a former colleague at the school where she worked.

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Time of India  Maria Sadaqat, 19, was attacked by a group of people on Monday in the village of Upper Dewal close to the summer hill resort of Murree, outside the capital Islamabad. “She was badly tortured and then burned alive.

We brought her to hospital in Islamabad but she succumbed to her wounds today,” Abdul Basit, Sadaqat’s uncle, said outside a burns centre at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital. 

Grieving relatives (below) outside the centre wept and protested at the teenager’s death as police moved her body to another hospital for a post-mortem.

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Basit said his niece had been attacked by the principal of the private school where she had formerly worked as a teacher, and by his accomplices after she refused a marriage proposal from his son.  “He was divorced and twice her age, so she refused the proposal and left her job when they pursued her time and again… eventually they attacked her,” Basit said. 

Police said Sadaqat gave a statement before her death naming the principal and four others as her attackers. “We have arrested at least one of the accused and a hunt is on for the rest,” Mazhar Iqbal, the officer directing the murder investigation, told AFP. 

A doctor at the hospital said Sadaqat had succumbed to serious burns. “The poor woman was becoming better but then could not survive because most parts of her body had serious burn injuries,” said Ayesha Ihsani. 

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A woman believed to be aged between 16-18 was drugged, strangled and her body burnt on the orders of a village jirga (council) in northwest Pakistan on April 29, allegedly for helping a friend to elope with her lover. It was the second time in just over a month that a Pakistani woman had been murdered over a marriage issue.

This follows the death of Sonia Bibi, 20, (below) who was burned alive in November 2015 after she was burned alive by her jilted former boyfriend who doused her with petrol and set her alight after she turned down his offer of marriage. Hundreds of women are murdered in Pakistan each year on the grounds of defending family ‘honour’.

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More than 1,000 women were killed in Pakistan in 2015 by relatives who believed they had compromised their family’s name, with a majority of these crimes, known as “honor killings,” going unreported, the country’s independent Human Rights Commission said in its recent annual report.