By: SALEEM MUBARAK
FAISALABAD: Fauzia Bibi, who was allegedly set on fire after being doused in kerosene by her husband following a domestic brawl, was allowed treatment by her in-laws on the condition that she would not accuse her spouse of the brutality she was subjected to at Chak 215-RB, Kakuana, on Nov 24.
According to a doctor of the Allied Hospital, who wished not to be named, the 27-year-old woman was brought to the surgical emergency of the facility on Nov 24, with 40 per cent critical burns on her upper body and hands.
The doctor, who is in the medical team treating the patient, told Dawn that in her official statement Fauzia said she suffered burns in a gas cylinder blast while she was preparing breakfast for her three minor children.
Being unable to imprint the impression of her hand thumb on the paper carrying her statement because of her burns, Fauzia had to complete the legal formality with a thumb of her foot, the doctor said.
As soon as she recorded her statement, Fauzia’s husband Abdul Jabbar, of Chak 215-RB, Kakuana, left the hospital and did not return so far, he added.
However, later while being treated for her burns, Fauzia confided her plight to the doctor, saying her husband with the help of her in-laws sprinkled kerosene on her and set her on fire following a brawl.
Quoting the victim, the doctor said she was brought to the hospital only after she swore on her three children that she would not utter even a word against her husband and in-laws.
However, Fauzia’s brother Umer Hayat immediately reported the matter to Saddar police lodging an FIR under Section 34/436 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against Abdul Jabbar, his brother Abdul Salam and their sister Naseebo Bibi on Nov 24 last.
According to the FIR, Jabbar, along with the two other suspects set his sister on fire following a brawl.
Initially, Fauzia too told the police she had been set on fire by her husband and two others. However, later on she changed her statement. The doctor said she had changed her statement because of her concern for her three children. She thought the children would suffer if Jabbar got arrested, he said quoting Fauzia.
He said given the patient’s critical condition, the hospital administration had called police to record her dying declaration. The police response was awaited, he added.
He apprehended that the contradictory statements of Fauzia might benefit the suspects.
Nayab Baloch, a human rights activist, said the incident again highlighted the high prevalence of violence against women in our society.
“We have to educate our women to stand up against such cruelties, otherwise they would continue to suffer,” she said.
City Police Officer Afzaal Ahmed Kausar could not be contacted for his statement on the issue.