I’ve heard of married Pakistani Muslim women having extra-marital affairs and I’ve heard of them killing for love or other reasons, but what Fauzia Sultana has done is truly shocking. A normal woman would never kill her own eight-year old son to avoid giving him to her ex-husband (who demanded custody of the child after divorcing her). Yet she poisoned her eight year-old kid Ali Raza as reported by Dawn.

Her second marriage ended in divorce after two years when she failed to bear a child. Her third husband Tariq Mahmood (father of two sons from a previous marriage) is described by her as a good man who took her to the Holy Land to perform Hajj. One would have thought she’d turn into a truly pious Muslim woman after the Hajj, but this did not happen. She continued her liaison with her lover of 22 years (Mehr Asif) for whom she used to steal jewelry and cash.

Apparently Asif was her lover even before her first marriage. Then she killed her third husband (Tariq) by poisoning him. Why she did it is not known. Maybe he came home earlier one day and found her lover in his house or perhaps he caught her stealing his cash and jewelry. She told everyone that Tariq had died of a heart attack. But then one of her stepsons (Shehzad Tariq) would beat her up (she didn’t say why). Maybe he too suspected her of being immoral. So she and her lover killed the stepson, and she told the cops that some unknown men had killed him. The police, employing their well-known “humane” methods of interrogating suspects, got her to confess to the murders of her husband, her stepson and her own son.

So will she be allowed to live by the state? We know that Pakistanis can get away with murder (after the victims’ near relatives forgive them). If that happens in this case, and she’s not sentenced to death, what about her affair with Mehr Asir? Remember, in Pakistan (and in Islam), the prescribed sentence for a married woman indulging in illicit sex is death by stoning. Will the state decide to kill her? Or will she turn out to have powerful relatives who will save her from execution?