A Pakistani husband has been arrested for allegedly torturing his wife by stripping her naked, beating her and shaving her head after she refused to dance for his friends.
The disturbing incident came to the attention of the authorities after a woman covered in bruises appeared in a video on social media, identifying herself as Asma Aziz and begging the public for help.
Asma, from Lahore in Pakistan’s north-eastern Punjab province, says in the video that her husband Mian Faisal and his colleagues became enraged when she refused to dance for them.
Asma Aziz (pictured) took to social media to beg the public for help, saying her husband had humiliated and tortured her by shaving her head and beating her
She alleges that they humiliated her by removing all her clothes and shaving her head, then used iron pipes to beat her.
‘He took my clothes off in front of his employees. The employees held me as he shaved my hair off and burned it,’ she says in the video.
‘My clothes were bloody. I was bound by a pipe and hung from the fan. He threatened to hang me naked.’
Asma says that although Faisal was kind and loving when they first married four years ago, after just six months she noticed his behaviour beginning to change.
Asma alleges that her husband of four years Mian Faisal (pictured together) often becomes violent and abusive after drinking alcohol
The mother-of-three says he began to beat her – particularly after drinking alcohol – and often invited his ‘vulgar’ friends for parties at their house.
In the footage posted on Wednesday, a tearful Asma details how she escaped from the house the day after the alleged attack and managed to get to a police station.
But she says officers refused to register her case because she could not pay a bribe.
She further alleges that they refused to grant her access to medical treatment, insisting that she pay them first.
‘The police demanded cash for medical examination. I had no cash to pay them,’ she said. ‘How and from where I can pay them?’
Faisal (second right) and his employee Rashid Ali (second left) were arrested after Asma’s video went viral and came to the attention of authorities
She said she felt her only option was to ask the public for help, as her parents are dead and she has nobody else to turn to.
After seeing the viral video, Shireen Mazari, the Minister for Human Rights in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet, wrote on Twitter that his office had taken notice and ordered the arrest of two men – Asma’s husband Mian Faisal and his employee Rashid Ali.
They were reportedly handed over to police on Thursday on a four-day physical remand. Asma testified before a judicial magistrate on Friday, Pakistan Today reports.
In her statement she said: ‘My husband brought two of his friends over to our house and asked me to drink alcohol and dance for them. When I refused, my husband, Faisal, tied my feet and started to torture me.’
She alleges that three of her husband’s employees – Rashid, Amjad, and Farzana – were present at their house at the time.
Asma said her husband shaved all her hair off and then set it on fire in front of her, before threatening to strangle her
‘When I tried to run out of the house, my husband hit me with a manhole cover,’ she said in the statement.
She also told the magistrate that she had desperately called a friend from Farzana’s phone.
‘My friend came over and took me to the police station. When we asked the police officials to conduct a medical examination they asked for Rs5,000.
Asma before the alleged incident, in which her head was shaved and she was tortured by her husband
‘The police neither gave a report nor conducted a medical examination.
‘I walked out of the police station crying as they did not cooperate.’
Punjab police spokesperson Nabila Ghazanfar told ARY News that a high-level investigation has been opened to look into the incident, pending which the victim has been put under police protection.
The results of Asma’s medical examination, seen by DawnNewsTV, reportedly show that she had multiple bruises on her left arm, bruises and swelling on both cheeks, a cut on her hand, redness and watering in her left eye, and had suffered dizziness and vomiting.
According to the report, there is no possibility that she could have fabricated the injuries. It recommends that she undergo X-rays of her head and hand, and visit optical, orthopedic and neurological specialists.
In a tweet on Thursday, Amnesty International South Asia said that while it is ‘glad that strong and swift action has been taken against the torturers of Asma Aziz, we note with dismay the alarming rise in reported cases of violence against women.
‘System change to protect women is necessary. Action can’t only be taken on a case-by-case basis.’
Gulf News, citing Human Rights Commission of Pakistan data, reported that there were over 2,500 cases of violence against women filed in Pakistan last year.
In 2016, Pakistan ranked 150 out of 153 countries on The Georgetown Institute’s Women, Peace and Security index. The data says that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of women said they had experienced domestic violence.
Shireen Mazari, Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights, said on Twitter that his office had called for the arrested two men – Asma’s husband Mian Faisal and his employee Rashid Ali