A 21-year-old Pakistani woman living in a remote village has been accused of murdering her husband and 16 other members of his family after she was married to him against her will. Police said they believed the woman, Asiya Bibi, had mixed poison into her husband’s milk, but that the husband didn’t drink it and his mother instead mixed the milk into Lassi, a traditional yogurt-based drink, that was served to 27 members of his family. At least 17 people have reportedly died, including the husband, and 10 more are reportedly in the hospital.
District police chief Sohail Habib Tajak said that he had questioned Bibi for two weeks, and extracted a confession from her lover, Shahid Lashari, who admitted he supplied Bibi with poison. On Monday, Bibi had denied the accusations before the media, saying that Lashari told her to poison her husband and asked her to marry him but that she refused on both counts. On Tuesday, however, Lashari and Bibi appeared before a judge in Muzaffargarh without lawyers, where she told reporters that she “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.”
Bibi added that she continued to meet with Lashari after the marriage and repeatedly warned her parents she was willing to go to extreme lengths to leave her husband, but that her parents still refused to allow her to get a divorce. She then admitted that Lashari had given her poison and that she had meant to kill her husband, but that she hadn’t meant to harm anyone else.