Young schoolteacher faced honor killing after refusal to marry

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By Mark Ellis

Maria Sadaquat turned down offer to wed
Maria Sadaquat turned down offer to wed

A 19-year-old schoolteacher in Islamabad was beaten and set on fire by an angry mob in an apparent honor killing, because she refused to marry one of them.

After struggling for her life in the hospital for nearly a day, Maria Sadaquat died from her wounds and burns, which covered 80 percent of her body, according to a report by the Clarion Project.

Sadaquat was teacher in the Sufa Academy, which was owned by a prominent individual, Shaukat Hussain. She fell in love with Hussain’s son Haroon, who asked to marry her despite the fact he was already married and has a child.

While polygamy is permissible under Islam, Sadaquat did not want to be part of such an arrangement and turned down the young man’s offer. After the father pressured her to marry his son (and even threatened her), Sadaquat left her job at the school, according to the Clarion Project.

Maria's grandmother next to Maria's body
Maria’s grandmother next to Maria’s body

While she was alone at her house, an angry mob of at least five (including the boy’s mother) burst inside, shouting insults at her. Then they dragged her outside and drenched her with kerosene. A match was lit and the mob ran, leaving her to burn alive.

Sadaquat cried for help, but it took her neighbors a considerable amount of time to respond since her house is located in a remote area. By the time the help came, she had already suffered heavy injuries.

Before she died in the hospital, Sadaquat provided a statement on video describing the attack.

She also recounted a pervious attack a few days earlier, when five men stormed into her house, dragged her to

Maria's burial
Maria’s burial

an open area and kicked her as if she were a “football,” according to the Clarion Project.

Every year more than 1,000 girls succumb to honor-killing in Pakistan. In addition, more than 1,000 girls from religious minorities are kidnapped and forcibly converted.

Local observers say such incidences are not seriously investigated, reports are never published and action is rarely taken against the perpetrators.

In April, in Abbottabad, the Pakistani city known for hiding Osama Bin Laden, an 18-year old girl was burned alive in a vehicle on the orders of the local jirga (assembly of leaders), according to the Clairon Project.

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