Mother straps her daughter to a cot and burns her alive in 'honour killing' act after girl eloped

Demonstrators in Pakistan protest against honor killings.Reuters

A Muslim girl who eloped with a man in defiance of her family's wishes knew what would happen to her if she returned home to her family in Pakistan.

"Don't let me go, they will kill me," 17-year-old Zeenat Rafiq told her husband Hassan Khan, according to the Associated Press.

But her husband was forced to allow his new wife to leave for home after her uncle convinced her to return. She was Punjabi while he was Pashtun.

On Wednesday, Zeenat's dire prediction on what would happen to her upon her return home came true: Her own mother Parveen strapped her to a cot and mercilessly  burned her alive, according to the Guardian.

When neighbours heard the girl screaming in pain, they ran towards the Rafiq house. However, family members barred them from entering, the AP reports.

Zeenat thus became the latest victim of "honour killings," an Islamic practice that reportedly kills hundreds of girls each year in Pakistan.

The girl's body was charred when police arrived. Moreover, the body showed signs of beating and strangulation, Officer Ibadat Nisar said.

Parveen voluntarily confessed to killing her daughter with the help of her son Ahmar. "I don't have any regrets," Officer Sheikh Hammad quoted her as saying.

Ahmar is on the run from police, CNN reports.

Muslims who practice "honour killings" believe that those who violate Islamic norms on marriage deserve to die, experts say. These Muslims believe that sex outside of marriage, or an inter-ethnic marriage in Zeenat's case, disgraces the entire family and that the only way to rectify this is by killing the offender.

Those who commit "honour killings" in Pakistan are emboldened to do so since the suspects are able to escape punishment even if they plead guilty to the crime. This happens when family members forgive the killer, prompting the prosecutors to drop charges, according to the Guardian. This is usually the case when an entire family feels its honour has been tainted by the victim.