http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/re...613eb2aa?campaign_id=A100&campaign_type=Email 18-year-old Maria Sadaqat was burnt alive after refusing a marriage proposal IT WAS a horrific ending to simply saying no to a “pressed marriage proposal”. Pakistani schoolteacher, Maria Sadaqat, 18, was babysitting her five-year-old sister when a group of men barged into her home, beat the young woman, drenched her in petrol and set her body ablaze before leaving her for dead. According to family members, the reason behind the gruesome attack was because she decided to turn down a marriage proposal from the owner of a school that she had taught at, who wanted Sadaqat to marry his son. “She was teaching at their school [in Dhok Kallar],” Miss Sadaqat’s maternal aunt, Aasia, said. “They sent in the proposal six months ago but the guy was already married and had a daughter. “They wanted her to run the school after marrying the son of the owner of the school. “[Sadaqat’s] father refused the proposal and they took the revenge by doing this.” According to police and locals, five people were involved in the young woman’s death, and said one of the attackers worked at the same school as the victim. Her family, who were alerted of the attack while attending a funeral in a nearby town, initially thought the accident was caused by an explosion within the home, perhaps by a burst pipe. When her family arrived home, they walked into a scene of carnage. “Maria was lying on the floor, with 85 per cent of her body covered in burns,” her uncle, Rafaqat Abbasi, told CNN. While three men have been arrested over the teenager’s murder, according to campaigners and cultural experts, this kind of attack on women who refuse marriage proposals are all too common in Pakistan — and usually go without pressing charges. In 2015, police formally investigated 76 cases of women being set on fire, according to the commission’s latest report. But nearly 1100 women were killed in Pakistan last year in so-called honour-killings, the country’s independent Human Rights Commission says. The act of an honour killing is defined as the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief the victim has brought dishonour upon the family or community. While Ms Sadaqat’s death isn’t a typical ‘honour killing,’ according to Professor Peter Mayer of Adelaide University, her death was not far off the brutal act. “The act of an honour kill occurs quite often, and in Pakistan they are not unlike what you see in places like Lebanon,” Prof. Mayer told news.com.au. “The killing is related essentially to family honour. Basically, they feel the family will come in to disrepute if a daughter does something which the family haven’t authorised, like dating a boy. “This will mean family members will kill” because their reputation was dishonoured. While this circumstance involved a “rejected suitor”, the death of Ms Sadaqat was a brutal act ignited by a damaged reputation — the core component of an honour killing. “Often when someone is rejected, the suitor might throw acid on a woman that rejected them in an attempt to disfigure their body and face,” Prof Mayer said. “They think, ‘I can’t have her, no one can’ which is equally ghastly.” In regards to pressing charges for the brutal nature of honour killings or attacks, Pakistan’s laws still allow criminal cases against those charged with a killing to be dismissed if the families of the victims forgive the accused, or accept “blood money” for the murder. “While it is illegal, often charges are not pressed and the person responsible will pay ‘blood money’ or a fine,” Prof Mayer said. “Often even marginal penalties are applied, or an inter-family fine is levied. “The killer usually gets pardoned as he comes from the same family as the deceased,” explained Ijaz Mohmand, president of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas Lawyers’ Forum. Violence against women is common in Pakistan where every year hundreds of women are killed for honour. Men are rarely killed in the name of honour and are overwhelmingly the killers.