A 21-year-old woman tried to slip poison into her new husband’s milk and inadvertently killed 17 of his family members in the process.
Aasia Bibi, who is charged with murder, appeared in court Tuesday in the northeastern city of Muzaffargarh, where she told reporters that her parents had forced her in September to marry a relative, the Associated Press and ITV reported. Her family lives in nearby Ali Pur, a small village.
“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,” the AP quoted Bibi as saying. She had warned them she was willing to do anything to get out of the marriage, she added, but they refused to permit a divorce, according to ITV.
Desperate to get out of the arrangement, Bibi went to her boyfriend, Shahid Lashari, who gave her a “poisonous substance,” local police chief Sohail Habib Tajak told the AP.
Last week, Tajak said, Bibi mixed the poison in milk and gave it to her husband, but he refused to drink it.
At some point after — and it’s not exactly clear how — Bibi’s mother-in-law used the tainted milk to make lassi, a yogurt-based drink popular in South Asia. When she served it to 27 members of her extended family, all of them lost consciousness and were hospitalised.
Bibi and Lashari were arrested on murder charges shortly afterward. Neither had lawyers, the AP reported.
Seventeen of the family members have reportedly died over the past several days, including one young girl, and the other 10 are still in the hospital.
Bibi initially denied the allegations. Her boyfriend, she said Monday, “asked me to mix it in something” and give it to the husband, according to ITV.
But in Tuesday’s court hearing, Bibi told reporters that she had in fact targeted her husband and regretted that others had died, according to the AP.
Tajak said he questioned Bibi and Lashari extensively trying to find out who was responsible. Lashari confessed to giving the young woman the poison, he said.
“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,” Tajak told the AP.
•Adapted from a Washington Post report.