1500 people fall victim to acid throwing yearly
Fakhra symbolizes the face of "acid terrorism"
Acid victims Fakhra Younus and others
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Acid attackers deserve capital punishment
According to Wikipedia, globally 1500 people mostly women have fallen victims to the dreaded crime of acid throwing yearly. A women’s group Aurat Foundation tallied a shocking figure of more than 8,500 acid attacks and other incidents of violence against women in Pakistan in 2011 alone.
Attackers usually target the face of their victims to disfigure them out of revenge or jealousy. In matter of minutes flesh and skin tissues are burned and disintegrated at the affected area, exposing most often facial bones. Blindness in both or either eye and permanent scarring of the injured areas are expected.
When intentions for the following issues: demands for dowry, sexual advances, proposal of marriage and land disputes are turned down, slighted attackers resort to the throwing of acid to their perceived enemies to exact revenge. Some of these crimes are carried out by wives versus their husbands’ other women. Some are committed by husbands against their wives for “dishonoring them”. Acid throwing victims include improperly dressed women who represent dirt to the eyes of fanatics.
The particular case of an acid throwing victim FAKHRA YOUNUS has magnetized my attention. Reading her suicide letter written minutes before jumping to her death 6-floor below her flat, I was carried by the same emotion that she had felt that moment- enraged at the officialdom of her country for not doing their level best to address this growing social menace of acid throwing and the failure to padlock her attacker behind bars.
“Fakhra had written that she was committing suicide over silence of law on the atrocities and insensitivity of Pakistani rulers”.
I resolve to do my part to help a bit in the drive to eradicate this social malady for I don’t want to see other countries fall helpless in its tentacles. I write this summary of Fakhra’s case with ardent prayer that her wish would find a real solution and for the world to ponder and tell concerned country or countries to put a stop to this painful and barbaric method of disfiguring faces and bodies of innocent victims.
In 1998 Fakhra, 18, and Bilal Khar, 30, met at a dance party and got married 6 months after. Former Pakistani “Dancing Girl” Fakhra already has a son before the marriage. Misunderstandings mar the relationship when Fakhra discovered Bilal’s record of 3 previous marriages. Complaining of physical and verbal abused, she returned to her parents to her natal home. Bilal’s pleadings to change his ways for the better fell on deaf ears.
Uninvited, Bilal paid his in-laws a visit and and found Fakhra soundly asleep. His evil intent got the better of him and taking advantage of the situation, Bilal put out his container of acid and poured it on the face of the sleeping Fakhra in the presence of her 5-year son. The year was 2000. The son Naumar now a teenager cannot accept his mother’s new face. “She’s not my mother”, he said.
The acid attack on her of her estranged husband disfigured her face beyond description. Pakistani writer and activist Tehmina Durrani assisted her flew to Italy for treatment and where 39 surgery attempts were made to reshape her contorted face to no avail. Durrani said Fakhra had vowed to reopen her case upon her return to Pakistan. No longer able to contain her sentiments, Fakhra decided to end her life on March 17, 2012 in Italy where she was being treated. Her death happened 12 years after she was thrown acid with by her husband Bilal. She jumped to her death 6 floors of her flat, leaving behind a suicide protesting note. She was last seen looking at her face in the mirror and weeping, according to Wahington Post.
On March 18, 2012 Fakhra’s dead body was enplaned home to Pakistan after funeral prayers were said in the hospital premises in Rome. At home at the Jinnah International Airport, dignitaries, her relatives, human rights activists, politicians and well-known philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi met Fakhra’s remains.
Emotional, MQM chief Altaf Husaain and a big gathering of women cried public hanging of all acid throwing perpetrators including the arrest of suspect Bilal Khar, Fakhra’s husband and tormentor.
Bilal Khar was charged with attempted murder. Granted bail after his arrest, he was eventually acquitted. Bilal strong connections helped him escape justice. His father is rich and influential. Pakistan’s foregn minister is his cousin.