Pakistani bride in forced marriage kills 17 in botched plot to poison husband
Police in Pakistan have arrested a newly married woman on murder charges after she allegedly poisoned her husband's milk and it inadvertently killed 17 other people in a remote village, a senior officer said.
District police chief Sohail Habib Tajak said a judge allowed police to question the woman for two weeks to determine whether it was the woman's decision or a boyfriend had incited her to kill her husband by poisoning him.
"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.
Mr Tajak said the woman, who was not identified, was married against her will in September in a village near the town of Ali Pur, 60 miles south of Multan, a city in the eastern Punjab province.
He said the woman was not happy with her husband and wanted to return to her parents' home.
Mr Tajak said she obtained a poisonous substance from her boyfriend last week and mixed it in milk for her husband, who refused to drink it.
The woman's mother-in-law later used the tainted milk to make a traditional yogurt-based drink and served it to 27 people in her extended family, who fell unconscious and were taken to hospital.
Seventeen died and 10 are being treated in hospital, he said.
The woman appeared before a judge in the city of Muzaffargarh on Tuesday, where she told reporters 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.
The woman said her love affair with her boyfriend continued after she got married.
She said she had warned her parents she could go to any extent to get out of her marriage, but they refused to allow her to get a divorce.
The woman expressed remorse over the deaths, saying her target was only her husband.
Mr Tajak said police were trying to trace and arrest all those who were aware of the woman's plot aimed at her husband. He said the woman's boyfriend had confessed to supplying a poisonous substance.