A 25-year-old Christian woman has died following being set alight for refusing a Muslim man’s marriage proposal.

Asma Yacoob was doused in acid before being set on fire by Rizwan Gujjar, 30.
She been working as a beautician for the last two years and was making a good living due to her expert knowledge.

Her brother Nabeel Yaqoob, 23, met Gujjar where he worked as a panaflex-maker (banner print-worker).

They became good friends and Rizwan would often visit Nabeel at his family home where he developed an attraction for Asma.

Asma was friendly to Rizwan because he was her brother’s friend, but when Gunnar proposed marriage three months ago, she refused his advances.
On 10th April Asma went to provide her beautician services to a bride in Pak Pura town, Sialkot.

At around 11pm she was told her brother had arrived and wanted to speak to her.

But when Asma went to the courtyard she saw Gujjar instead of her brother.

He instantly threw large amounts of acid on her and then set her on fire before running away.

Asma was taken to nearby Civil Hospital, before being transferred to Mayo Hospital, Lahore, where she died around 11 days later.

Asma’s family lodged an FIR in Haji Pura Police Station on the day of the day of the attack and the police arrested Gujjar the next day.

Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK has expressed his anger and grief over the tragic death of Asma, stating that this is a real picture of how Christians are being treated in Pakistan. Christian girls are looked upon as inferior and as a commodity, and have no respect in society.

He added: “They are often harassed and intimidated at their workplace. They are often asked to convert to Islam and to marry Muslim colleagues.

If they refuse they have face dire consequences – sometimes they are kidnaped and forcibly converted to Islam, and sometimes they are attacked with acid. Such cases are becoming everyday matters and the police hardly make any advances, especially if the victims is Christian.”

Although there are some laws like Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace (Amendment) Act, 2010, amended in 2016 and Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015, their implementation is difficult. Pakistan is considered the 3rd most dangerous country in the world for women and perhaps the 1st most dangerous country for Christian women and girls.

As according to some NGO’s reports estimate 700 Christians girls are kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriage. Unfortunately, Christians feel themselves under constant attack and many are fleeing the county for a better place where they are treated with dignity and respect and have equal rights.

He further said that authorities must take this matter seriously and bring the perpetrator to the justice. This Chief Justice who is considered a messiah should take Suo moto notice of Asma’s tragic death and get the family justice.

After meeting the family, CLAAS’s team in Pakistan visited the local police station and met with Inspector Muhammad Arif, the Investigation Officer (IO). He assured CLAAS of a free & fair investigation. The family was also offered legal assistance.