A newly married Pakistani woman has been arrested on murder charges after she allegedly poisoned her husband’s milk and it inadvertently killed 17 relatives, a senior police officer says.
The woman says she got the poisonous substance from her boyfriend, who she kept seeing after her marriage
She mixed the substance in her husband’s milk but he did not drink it
The mother-in-law spotted the milk and made it into a yogurt-based drink she served to 27 people
Aasia Bibi, 21, was married against her will to a relative in September in a village in the eastern Punjab province.
District Police Chief Sohail Habib Tajak said the woman obtained a poisonous substance from her boyfriend, Shahid Lashari, last week and mixed it in milk for her husband, who refused to drink it.
But Ms Bibi’s mother-in-law later used the tainted milk to make a traditional yogurt-based drink and served it to 27 members of her extended family, who fell unconscious and were hospitalised.
Seventeen people died and 10 were being treated in a hospital, he said.
Chief Tajak said a judge allowed police to question Ms Bibi for two weeks over the deaths to determine whether it was Ms Bibi’s decision to kill her husband by poisoning him, or if her boyfriend had incited her to do it.
“This incident took place last week and our officers have made progress by arresting a woman and her lover in connection with this murder case, which was complicated and challenging for us,” he said.
The Police Chief said Ms Bibi was not happy with her husband and wanted to return to her parents’ home.
Ms Bibi appeared before a judge in the city of Muzaffargarh on Tuesday (local time), where she told reporters that she was angered over her parents’ decision to marry her to a man against her will.
“I 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,” she said.
Ms Bibi said her love affair with her boyfriend continued after she got married.
She said she had warned her parents that she could go to any extent to get out of her marriage, but they refused to allow her to get a divorce.
Ms Bibi said her boyfriend gave her a poisonous substance, which she mixed in her husband’s milk, but he did not drink it.
Her mother-in-law spotted the glass of milk and she mixed it in the traditional yogurt-based drink and served it to 27 people.
Ms Bibi expressed remorse over the deaths, saying her target was only her husband.
Chief Tajak said police were trying to trace and arrest all those who were aware of the woman’s plot aimed at killing her husband.
He said Mr Lashari had also confessed to supplying a poisonous substance to the woman.
Many parents in Pakistan arrange marriages for their daughters against their will, but such incidents are rare.