Bride’s bid to escape forced marriage ends in 17 deaths
Aasia Bibi, 21, and her boyfriend, Shahid Lashari, pictured above in police custody, are accused of murdering 17 people who died in Pakistan after drinking poisoned milk intended for Bibi’s husband.
According to this report, Bibi was forced by her family into an arranged marriage with a relative in September.
When she appeared in court on Tuesday in the northeastern city of Muzaffargarh she told reporters:
I repeatedly asked my parents not to marry me against my will as my religion, Islam, also allows me to choose the man of my choice for marriage, but my parents rejected all of my pleas.
She had warned them she was willing to do anything to get out of the marriage, she added, but they refused to permit a divorce.
Desperate to get out of the arrangement, Bibi went to her boyfriend, Shahid Lashari, who gave her a “poisonous substance”, local police chief Sohail Habib Tajak said.
Last week, Tajak said, Bibi mixed the poison in milk and gave it to her husband, but he refused to drink it.
At some point after – and it’s not exactly clear how – Bibi’s mother-in-law used the milk to make lassi, a yogurt-based drink popular in South Asia. When she served it to 27 members of her extended family, all of them lost consciousness and were hospitalised.
Seventeen of the family members have reportedly died over the past few days, including one young girl, and the other ten are still in the hospital.
Bibi initially denied the allegations. Her boyfriend, she said on Monday, “asked me to mix it in something” and give it to her husband.
But at Tuesday’s court hearing, Bibi told reporters that she had in fact targeted her husband and regretted that others had died.
Tajak said he questioned Bibi and Lashari extensively trying to find out who was responsible. Lashari confessed to giving the young woman the poison, he said.
Our officers have made progress by arresting a woman and her lover in connection with this murder case, which was complicated and challenging for us.