MULTAN - A girl of Basti Malook area yesterday night was admitted to the burn unit of Nishtar Hospital in precarious condition, hospital sources disclosed.

Police initially suspected some persons had set her on fire. However, the girl, identified as Sonia, stated in her statement to the police that she had committed self-immolation in protest against her parents’ decision to marry her to a person she did not like. A source said the girl wanted to marry a student of BZ University and when her parents decided to solemnise her marriage to someone else, she committed a suicide attempt.

AFP adds: A young girl was recovering in a hospital after she was burned nearly half of her body by a man she had refused to marry, police said. Sonia Bibi, 20, told police from her hospital bed that her former lover Latif Ahmed sprinkled petrol on her body and set her on fire after she turned down his proposal. A doctor in Nishtar Hospital confirmed that 45 to 50 percent of the girl’s body had been burnt in the attack, but said she was out of danger.

The incident took place in a remote village of Multan district in Central Punjab. Ahmed, 24, had been arrested, police official Jamshed Hayat told AFP. “The police arrested the man after recording the statement of Sonia Bibi in the presence of her parents,” Hayat said. “The girl told us that she was in love with Latif whom she accused of dousing her in gasoline and setting her on fire,” Hayat said. The police had launched a probe, but preliminary investigations suggested Latif had set Bibi on fire after she refused to marry him, he said. Mukhtar Cheema, another police official in Multan, confirmed the incident, saying Sonia Bibi had told police she had rejected Ahmed’s proposal as she was no longer in love with him.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, taking notice of the incident of setting the girl on fire, has sought a report from the Multan RPO. The CM has ordered the RPO to immediately arrest the culprit, initiate legal action and ensure justice to the affected family at all cost.

He has also directed the hospital authorities to provide the best medical facilities to the girl.