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In-laws burn woman alive for not bearing a son

By Asad Kharal

LAHORE: In yet another horrific incident of domestic violence, a woman was burnt alive by her in-laws allegedly as ‘punishment’ for not being able to have a son. The incident took place in Chaghjwal village of Narowal district.

Sobia Bibi, wife of Irfan Rasool and a mother to a girl, was often abused by her in-laws for not bearing a son, said her uncle, Muhammad Afzal.

According to a First Information Report (FIR), available with The Express Tribune, Afzal accused Sobia’s husband, mother-in-law Khursheed Bibi, sister-in-laws Zahida Bibi and Shahida Bibi and the latter’s husband Abdul Ghaffar for burning Sobia alive as ‘punishment’ for not bearing a son.

Afzal, a resident of Mauza Malowaal, Shakar Garh tehsil, Narowaal district, said that he went over to his niece’s house upon learning that she had passed away.

When he, along with some family members, arrived at the house, they saw Sobia’s burnt body and grew immediately suspicious. According to Afzal, Sobia’s face was completely burnt.

When Afzal questioned Khursheed Bibi and the rest of the in-laws about the incident, they reluctantly stated that Sobia died after being burnt by short circuiting. However, Afzal checked the wiring of the room and found no signs of short-circuiting – the fan and other electronic goods were running in order. The ropes of the charpai (bed), however, were burnt.

“When we told them that everything seemed to be in order, Khursheed Bibi and the rest started abusing us and threatened us with dire consequences,” Afzal said, according to the FIR.

He alleged that Sobia had been a victim of torture at the hands of her in-laws for not having a son. His family often played the mediator between Sobia and her in-laws to resolve the matter, he added.

Her husband Irfan after a consensus and in connivance with his family burnt Sobia alive, the FIR stated.

Afzal added that most of the accused were at large and had threatened him with dire consequences if he pursued the case.

Investigation Officer (IO) Sub Inspector Muhammad Hussain told The Express Tribune that two of the accused – Zahida and Abdul Ghaffar – have been arrested, while arrests of the remaining accused would be made soon.

The IO said that during the course of investigation Zahida confessed to the crime, which she carried out with the help and consent of the other accused.

According to Hussain, Zahida said she had poured petrol all over Sobia’s body and immediately set fire to her but she ran into another room. However, they made another attempt and were this time, unfortunately, successful in burning her to death.

The Express Tribune