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ICC Note: A Christian woman in Pakistan was burned to death after she refused a Muslim man’s marriage proposal. Asma Yaqoob, a Christian woman from Sialkot, Pakistan died six days after 90% of her body was burned in the attack. Due to widespread discrimination, the refusal of a Christian woman to marry a Muslim man can be seen as very offensive. Often, inter-religious relationships in Pakistan cause communal tensions and outbreaks of religiously motivated violence.   

04/24/2018 Pakistan (Christian Post) – A Pakistani Christian woman has died after she was set on fire for refusing a Muslim man’s marriage proposal, reports indicate.

Twenty-five-year-old Asma Yaqoob from the Punjab city of Sialkot passed away Sunday as burns covered as much as 90 percent of her body following a mid-April attack that was believed to be carried out by a 30-year-old Muslim friend of the family named Rizwan Gujjar.

Pakistan Today reports that Asma was taken to a specialty burn unit over three hours away in Lahore’s Mayo Hospital for treatment.

Her father, Yaqoob Masih, filed a report with local police. According to the newspaper, her father explained that his daughter was working at the house of Saeeduz Zaman in Mohalla Pakpura area of Sialkot when the attack occurred.

“On April 17, my son Maqsood and I went to Zaman’s house … to meet Asma and to inquire after the health of Zaman’s mother,” Masih was quoted as writing in the police report. “We were sitting in a room when there was a knock on the front gate. 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.”

Police sub-inspector Muhammad Riaz confirmed Gujjar’s arrest and told Pakistan Today that Gujjar confessed to the crime.

“We have prepared the charge sheet and sent him to jail,” Riaz told the outlet.

According to the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association, Gujjar had worked with Asma’s brother, Nabeel, and became a regular visitor of the Yaqoob household. During that time, he began to take a liking to Asma.

The charity reports that about three months ago, Gujjar asked Asma to marry him. However, she reportedly declined and began distancing herself from Gujjar.

BPCA reports that Gujjar carried out the attack by knocking on the door of the house, pretending to be one of Asma’s brothers and then asking for Asma to come to the door.

According to BPCA, Gujjar covered Asma in a flammable liquid and lit her on fire when she went outside.

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