PAKISTANI police have arrested a woman for allegedly plotting with her newly married niece to poison the younger woman’s husband with tainted milk which would eventually kill him and 17 other relatives in a remote village.

Investigators believe the boyfriend of 21-year-old Aasia Bibi incited her to kill her husband, Mohammad Amjad, by putting rat poison in his milk because she was not happy in her arranged marriage. Amjad was her cousin.

Local police chief Zulfiqar Ali said Amjad did not drink the milk Bibi prepared on October 24, but it was later found by his mother, Janat Bibi, 52 — who unwittingly used the tainted milk to make a traditional yoghurt drink the next day in the village south of Multan.

The yoghurt was served to 27 members of the extended family, including Amjad who, along with 17 others, subsequently died at a district hospital. Eight children aged between seven and 12 were among the dead.

Ali said the deaths quickly drew the attention of police, who uncovered an alleged plot involving Aasia Bibi, her boyfriend Shahid Lashari and her aunt, 49-year-old Zarina Begum.

Ali added Bibi and her boyfriend were arrested and detained pending trial after they confessed to their involvement in the poisoning.

Among the dead were Amjad’s two brothers, his three sisters-inlaw and some distant relatives.