Christian Woman in Pak Dies After Being Set on Fire For Not Marrying a Muslim

Published 24 April 2018  |  
Morning Star News
Asma Yaqoob succumbed to her injuries on April 22 after fire attack previous week

A Christian woman in Pakistan died on April 22 after a Muslim man poured kerosene and set her on blaze for refusing to convert to Islam and marry him.

Muhammad Rizwan Gujjar set Asma Yaqoob, 25, on flames on April 17, resulting in burns on 80 percent of her body.

The attack took place at the house where she worked as a domestic worker for Saeeduz Zaman in the Mohalla Pakpura area in Lahore. Her father, Yaqoob Masih, a resident of Mohalla Bogara near Hajipura, and her brother Maqsood were with her at the time of attack, according to a police report.

Masih stated in the police First Information Report (FIR 171/18) that he and his son had visited Zaman's house at 11 p.m. to meet Asma and inquire after the health of Zaman's ailing mother.

"We were sitting in a room when there was a knock on the front gate," he said, according to Morning Star News.

"Asma went out to see who had come, when after some time we heard her screaming in pain. Zaman, Maqsood and I rushed outside to see what had happened and saw the accused Rizwan Gujjar fleeing from the scene while Asma was engulfed in flames," he added.

She was rushed to nearby Sialkot Civil Hospital, only to be disappointed as there was no burn unit.

Then family rushed her to Lahore, 154 kilometers away.

At the hospital, Yaqoob told her father that Gujjar had been forcing her to marry him for some time, but that she had refused the proposal as she did not want to recant her Christian faith, Masih stated in the FIR.

Yaqoob's mother, Parveen Akhtar, told MSN her daughter had previously complained of Gujjar demand.

Gujjar had threatened her that she has no other choice but to renounce her faith and marry him.

But Yaqoob stood her ground and refused to succumb to pressure to renounce her faith.

"My daughter is a staunch Protestant Christian and had been resisting Gujjar's pressure for a long time," she said.

"She was not interested in him and had repeatedly complained about his misbehavior. When all efforts failed to convince Asma to cave in to his demand, Gujjar attempted to kill hee," she added.

Police have arrested Gujjar, and he has confessed to killing the Christian woman, attorney Riaz Anjum of the Pakistan Center for Law and Justice (PCLJ) told MSN, though Pakistan media said Gujjar claimed she caught fire on accident.

The local Christian community was proud of Asma Yaqoob's faith, Christian rights activist Napolean Qayyum, also of the PCLJ, said.

"The brave girl belongs to a very poor family, yet she refused attempts to forcibly convert her to Islam," he said.

"It's a good thing that the police not only arrested the accused but also managed to elicit a confession from him – in most cases we have seen, the police facilitate the accused when it comes to matters involving girls belonging to minority faiths," he added.

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