A 25-year-old Christian woman from Punjab province, Pakistan, has died of horrific injures eleven days after being set on fire for refusing to convert to Islam in order to marry a Muslim man.
Local sources report that Asma Yaqoob refused to convert to Islam as demanded by Muhammad Rizwan Gujjar as a condition of a marriage proposal. When Asma refused to renounce her faith, Gujjar doused her with petrol before setting her on fire.
The attack took place on 11 April in Pak Pura town, Sialkot, where Asma was working as a domestic help. Since the attack, she had been receiving treatment for over 80% burns to her face and body in Mayo hospital, Lahore, where she died on 23 April.
Police arrested Rizwan Gujjar the day after the attack, following a complaint lodged at the Haji Pura Police Station by Asma’s family. Family members reported that they had been concerned Asma was being pressured to convert to Islam. Reports state that Rizwan Gujjar, who has been charged with grievous bodily harm offences, claims the attack was “an accident”.
A 2014 report by a Pakistani NGO estimated that at least 700 Christian girls and young women and 300 Hindu girls and young women are kidnapped, raped, and forcibly married to their captors in Pakistan each year. Many abductors escape justice because the girl or young woman is not allowed to testify freely in court, while her abductor claims she is now a Muslim and consented to marry him.