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Pakistan: 19-year-old dies after being set on fire for rejecting marriage proposal

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UPPER DEWAL, Pakistan – A 19-year-old Pakistani woman who was set a blaze for refusing to marry a man twice her age has died of her injuries in hospital in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Maria Sadaqat, working as a school teacher was attacked by a group of men when she was at her home on Sunday.

Her family members said that the perpetrators beat Maria, then drenched her in petrol and set her body ablaze before leaving her for dead.

Maria’s uncle Rafaqat Abbasi said. “Maria was at home baby-sitting her 5-year-old sister while her family went to a funeral in a nearby town. At the funeral her family was alerted that she ‘was on fire.’ Initially the thought was there had been some sort of accident, perhaps a pipe had burst or something.”

He added.”Maria was lying on the floor, with 85% of her body covered in burns.”

She was taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, for treatment, where she died.

Maria’s maternal aunt, Aasia said the trouble started when the school’s owner asked for her niece to marry his son.

“She was teaching at a school. They sent in the proposal six months ago but the guy was already married and had a daughter. They wanted her to run the school after marrying the son of the owner of the school.

“Her father refused the proposal and they took the revenge by doing this.”

Police had arrested three people on Thursday in Islamabad and the arrest warrant is out for other four men in connection with the teenager’s killing, said the Murree police inspector.

Violence against women is common in Pakistan. Nearly 1,000 women were killed each year in so-called “honor killings” for allegedly violating conservative norms on love and marriage.

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