A 20-year-old young bride Aasia Bibi mistakenly poisoned a container of milk, with the hope to kill her husband in order to escape her arranged marriage.
Bibi, who recently attempted to return to her parent’s house, used to live in Muzaffargarh, in southwest Pakistan, is now forced to return back to her husband’s house.
She was desperately unhappy from her marriage, allegedly was given a toxic substance from her boyfriend, Shahid Lashari who asked her to mix it with milk and give it to her husband. However, her eligible partner refused to do so and left the milk untouched.
It was later on, when Bibi’s mother-in-law innocently used the deadly cocktail to make a traditional yogurt-based drink called “lassi” when things got bad. She served the drink to all 27 members of her extended family, who minutes after tasting the drink, fell unconscious and were rushed to the hospital.
On Wednesday, the death number rose to 16, including a minor, while other 11 are still under medical supervision.
District Police Officer, Awais Ahmad Malik, told the kind of poison used would only be clear after the chemical tests on the victims.
A senior police official also revealed that Bibi has been charged with murder, along with her boyfriend Shahid and his aunt Zarina Mai who is also arrested. All three have been charged under the anti-terror law, which according to Awais Ahmad Malik, is “to deter the local people from committing such crimes.”
Bibi denied all allegations in the press conference, telling that although her boyfriend asked her to poison the milk, she didn’t.
“Shahid told me to poison the beverage but I didn’t do it,” she said. “He [Shahid] asked me to marry him but I refused.”
When Bibi and Lashari appeared in front of the judge, she said to the reporters that she was angry over her parents’ decision to marry her against her will.
“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 and they married me to a relative,” she added. She also admitted that her love affair with her lover continued even after she got married.
Bibi also told that she already warned her parents that she was capable of going to any length to run away from this marriage, but they still refused to allow her to get the divorce.
After the tragic event, she expressed remorse over the deaths, telling that her target was only her husband.
District police chief Sohail Habib Tajak told that the judge has allowed the investigators to question the young lady for two weeks to determine whether her lover may have incited her to kill her husband.
He told to IBTIMES UK: “This incident took place last week and 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.”
The police chief said that officers were trying to trace and arrest all those who were aware of the plot. He added that Lashari had confessed to supplying the poison.
After being picked up on Twitter, Bibi’s story went viral in the West only this week
Pakistani girl poisons 18 people to death for forcing her to marry someone. She's remorseless, says it's her right to resist forced marriage pic.twitter.com/GXw3T9OHWZ
— F. Jeffery (@Natsecjeff) October 31, 2017
People have expressed mixed reactions
Arranged marriages are not so uncommon in Pakistan and they are usually organized by family members. Although it was planned with good intention, now it has taken the face of social evil often ending up with “honor killing” whoever goes against it.
Women’s better socio-economic status is key when it comes to afford certain liberties in this regard. Some may even get the chance to choose who they marry. For many Pakistani families, marriage helps in building networks and in most cases is seen as a step up of a socio-economic ladder for one of the parties.
In the same vein, it is understandable from a completely practical point of view why most parents don’t approve love marriages since unlike those who can choose their spouses, for many, the social networks build from arranged marriages is a reason of pride and even perpetuates nepotism in the workplace. A thing that love marriages don’t guarantee.
Just a few hours away from where Bibi lived another couple who had been living in an arranged marriage for four months died. The parents of the 23-year-old groom believe that the 21-year-old bride poisoned their food.