LAHORE: Two young girls stand inches away from charred bricks and ash, staring at the detritus of a “kind and gentle” teenager who taught them the Koran but was savagely burned by her mother for marrying the man of her choice.
Maham and Muskan were pictured Wednesday with their eyes riveted to the spot where, just hours before, 16-year-old Zeenat Bibi was doused in kerosene and set alight.
That night, Maham’s mother told AFP, she had to reassure her tearful and confused daughter that she loved her.
“She cried a lot and wept a lot, she did not eat anything,” Rani Bibi, who shared the common last name with Zeenat’s family, said Thursday.
“She slept with me. Before sleeping she asked many questions: ‘Why was my teacher killed? Why did her mum kill her?’
“I said, ‘Don’t worry. You are my beloved daughter.'”
Maham, pictured in pink and black and frowning as she looked at the burn marks, told AFP she had seen her teacher’s feet beneath the shroud covering her body.
“When I saw that I started weeping because my teacher was dead,” the 10-year-old said. “I was so afraid.”
Muskan, also 10, lived opposite Zeenat in Pakistan’s teeming cultural capital of Lahore, and had been taught the Koran by her too, the child’s grandmother Nasreen Bibi told AFP.
“Her face was very pale when she returned from the house,” she said of her granddaughter. “She was looking very afraid.”
Zeenat, both the women added, was “so kind and gentle”.
Police have said the teenager was killed Wednesday by her mother after marrying Hasan Khan, her long-term boyfriend.
Burns covered 90 percent of her body. A post-mortem to determine whether she was still alive when she was set on fire was being conducted.
None of her relatives sought to claim her body, police said Thursday, leaving her new husband’s family to bury her charred remains before dawn in a graveyard near the city.-AFP