Pakistani Bride Arrested In Mass Poisoning Warned Against Forced Marriage

BASTI LASHARI, Pakistan (CBS News) — Aasia Bibi had warned her parents time and again that if they forced her to marry her cousin, a man she disliked, she would be capable of going to any length to exit the union. She was already in a relationship, she said, and should be allowed to marry the man of her choice.

Now, investigators in this tiny, remote island village in central Pakistan believe the recently married 21-year-old was enticed by her boyfriend in a plot to kill her husband, Mohammad Amjad, by poisoning his milk with rat killer. Amjad did not drink the milk, but his mother used the tainted liquid the following day to make a traditional yogurt drink that she then tragically served to 27 family members, including Amjad.

Amjad and 17 others were sickened and subsequently died at a district hospital, including eight children aged 7 to 12. Among the dead were Amjad’s two brothers, his three sisters-in-law and some distant relatives.

“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,” Bibi told a judge at her initial hearing Oct. 31 following her arrest.

Bibi and her boyfriend Shahid Lashari were charged with murder and are scheduled to return to court Nov. 14. Pakistani police said Wednesday they also arrested Bibi’s aunt, 49-year-old Zarina Begum, for her involvement in the alleged plot.

Local police chief Zulfiqar Ali said the deaths quickly drew the attention of police, who quietly began an investigation and were able to expose the plot. He said Bibi was among those who did not drink the traditional lassi, which is made with water and yogurt.

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