The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

A tiny fraction of attacks against women recorded on Shariunveiled [content warning]

” Shabnam Bibi* was burnt with acid by her husband and his two accomplices over an argument on Saturday evening,” Mochiwala SHO.



Two women were attacked with acid in two incidents on Saturday.

One of them lost vision in her both eyes and suffered severe burns to over 40 per cent of her body.

Mochiwala police said Shabnam Bibi* was burnt with acid allegedly by her husband Muhammad Ramazan and his two accomplices over an argument on Saturday evening.

They said one of his accomplices had been arrested and was being questioned about the whereabouts of the suspect.

Shabnam Bibi’s screams for help attracted some of the neighbours to the scene who later took her to Jhang district headquarters (DHQ) hospital where she is still under treatment.

They said the suspects had fled by the time they reached the scene.

Dr Akbar Ali, one of the doctors treating her at the hospital, said besides the damage to her eyes, the acid had burned her face, shoulders, and arms.

“She has lost vision in her both eyes,” he said. He said one of her eyes was completely damaged when she was brought to the hospital on Saturday. He said the other eye was wounded and she later lost vision in it as well.

“It was confirmed during an examination by an eye surgeon today,” he said.

Acid attack ‘by brother’

In another incident in Batala Colony, a woman was attacked with acid allegedly by her brother.

Police said Saleema Bibi*, a resident of Allama Iqbal Colony, was under treatment at Faisalabad divisional headquarters (DHQ) hospital.

They said the suspect had fled by the time a police team reached the scene

Doctors treating her said she had suffered burns to her face, neck and shoulders. They said her eyes were also affected but whether or not she had lost her vision would be ascertained once she was examined by an eye surgeon.

*Names of the victims have been changed to protect their identity


Ahmed confronted his cousin, telling her to marry him or face the consequences. When she refused, Ahmed tossed the acid at her. PHOTO: FILE



Pakistan, LAHORE:

A man threw acid at his 17-year-old cousin and ex-fiance after she refused to marry him on Monday, also injuring his father and his four-month-old nephew in the process.

Awais Ahmed, 25, a bike mechanic and resident of Sant Nagar, has been arrested and has confessed to the crime, said Civil Lines Station House Officer Inspector Abid Rasheed.

He said that a case had been registered against Awais under Section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act and Section 324 (attempted murder) of the PPC on the complaint of Nasreen Akhtar, the mother of Neelam Riaz.

Inspector Rasheed said that Ahmed and Riaz had been engaged for two years, but the girl broke it off recently.

He said that Ahmed had found a voice recording of his fiancé talking to a boy over the phone and had demanded that she stop speaking to him, after which she had decided to end the engagement.

The SHO said that on Monday, Ahmed heard that Riaz was visiting his older brother Naqi at his house near Chandi Ahata. He rushed to his brother’s house with a bottle of acid. He said Ahmed confronted his cousin, telling her to marry him or face the consequences.

She refused, despite his threat, after which Ahmed tossed the acid at her.

The SHO said that Neelam Riaz had suffered serious burn injuries on the right side of her face, shoulder, chest and leg. She was rushed to Ganga Ram Hospital and later transferred to Mayo.

Awais Ahmed’s father Hameed Ahmed and his brother’s baby, Subhan, were also hurt. Hameed Ahmed was released after treatment while Subhan is still being treated at Jinnah Hospital.


LAHORE, Pakistan: Police investigators in Narowal are siding with men accused of gang-raping a 13-year-old Christian girl and then torturing her family and killing her two unborn cousins, say the girl’s family.

Though FIRs of both incidents have been registered, the police have already declared one of the three accused, a retired inspector’s son, innocent in the rape case. In the case for causing two stillbirths, the police are not arresting the accused even though a judge cancelled their interim bails.

The rape victim, a student of class six, told Civil Judge Mansoor Ahmed Warraich that Irfan, his employee Shahid and an unidentified man had kidnapped her as she walked past Irfan’s house on March 29. She said they drugged her, took her to the fields and raped her. She said she had been unable to cry out as her attackers stuffed some cloth in her mouth. She said that she woke up the next morning still in the fields, roused by family members who had been looking for her since she went missing. She said she had not gone to school since the day of the incident and never wanted to return.

Parveen Bibi, the family matriarch, told The Express Tribune that they had tried to lodge a case first at Domal police chowki, then Saddar police station, Narowal, but the police refused to register an FIR and instead urged the family to reach a settlement with the accused. They refused, and around 10 days later an FIR under Section 376 (rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code was finally registered at the police station.

A medical examination of the victim was conducted and established that she had been raped.

Parveen said that the accused and others then attacked the family to put pressure on them to reach a compromise and withdraw the case. She said on May 8 Irfan, his father Safdar Ali (the retired inspector), Salman Arshad, Asad Ali, Rashid Ali and Muhammad Boota invaded their home and beat up the family. She said women and children were also beaten. As a result of the attack, she said, her daughter-in-law Nosheen gave birth a day later to two stillborn girls.

She said that the police had registered an FIR against the six suspects under Sections 338-C (isqat-i-janin, abortion), 354 (assault on a woman), 452 (trespass), 109 (abetment), 147 (rioting) and 148 (rioting armed with a deadly weapon).

She said, however, that the police were favouring the accused. She said though a judge had cancelled the bails of some of the accused, the police were not arresting them.

In an order issued on May 29, Narowal Additional District and Sessions Judge Amjad Ali Shah also pointed out irregularities in the investigation. A part of the order reads: “…for the past seven days no recording in any case diary indicates either incompetency or clear malicious intent on the part of Investigation Officer SI Sarwat Hakeem. If any party is dissatisfied with the finding of the investigation, it can move an application for transfer of the investigation. The Investigation SP is warned not to interfere in this finding of the IO, otherwise a criminal case will be registered against him as well as against the IO for dishonest investigation.”

SI Sarwat Hakeem, the investigation officer in both cases, told The Express Tribune that the 13-year-old girl had gone to the fields with the three accused of her own consent. He said that she had a “friendship” with Shahid and they had fornicated “with her consent” He said the family had not found the girl in the fields; she had gone home on her own.

He also dismissed the family’s claim that Nosheen’s unborn baby girls had died due to being beaten. He said the stillborn children had been delivered 48 hours after the incident. He said that Section 338-C (causing an abortion) did not apply in this case and it might be removed from the FIR.

Parveen Bibi said that the accused were also putting pressure on them to stop pursuing the cases by claiming ownership of a seven-marla plot in the village which belonged to the family. She said that they had had to stop construction on the plot because of the claim.





Chiniot, Faisalabad, Pakistan—The in-laws set ablaze a woman for not bearing child and bringing least dowry here on Sunday.
According to police, Sonia, 20, hailing from Chak No 130 GB of Chiniot got married with her cousin Allah Dita one year ago.
The accused Allah Dita and his family used to quarrel with Sonia for having low dowry and not bearing a child.
On Sunday, the accused accompanied by his mother and sisters sprinkled petrol at Sonia and set her on fire.
She was shifted to Allied Hospital Faisalabad in critical condition where according to hospital sources 50 percent body of Sonia was burnt due to fire.—INP




Allah Rakhi

So cruel … Allah after the brutal attack, left, and post-surgery, right

Cover Asia Press

Last Updated:  01st June 2012

A WOMAN whose husband hacked off her nose with a razor can finally smile again – as she has had surgery to replace the one she so cruelly lost.

Allah Rakhi, 48, from Pakistan, fled an abusive marriage one night 32 years  ago, but her evil husband caught her, slicing off her nose and cutting  gaping wounds in her legs.

Last month, Allah finally had an operation at a Pakistan hospital thanks to the help of the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) and she’s now looking forward to a hopeful future.

She said: “When I found out I had to live the rest of my life without a nose I  wanted to die.

“I couldn’t imagine it. But now I am so happy. When I saw my new nose I just  wept and wept.”

Allah was just a teenager when she married farmer Gulam Abbas, who was the  same age, as part of an arranged marriage.

Allah Rakhi

Smiles better … Allah cried tears of joy when she saw her new nose

Cover Asia Press


She recalled: “I knew of Gulam for many years as we’d grown up in the same  area, but I had never spoken to him until after we were man and wife.

“We argued almost straight away and he always forced me in bed. I also knew he  was doing immoral things with other unmarried women in my area.”

One day 32 years ago, Allah remembers her husband hanging around the home  feeling ill.

She said: “Even though he was moaning of a fever his brother made him go to  work and plough the fields.

“So when he came home he wasn’t in a good mood. I stupidly asked him why he  bothered going to work if he was so ill and he just beat me.”

Allah Rakhi

Life-changer … with help from a women’s charity, Allah can now rebuild her life

Cover Asia Press


As soon as he left the house that evening, Allah decided she’d had enough and  tried to escape to her parent’s house.

But as she was walking to the bus stop she saw Gulam sitting in a barber’s and  he spotted her.

Terrified, she ran but Gulam cornered her, pinned her down and suddenly  flashed a razor blade.

He sliced off her nose and shouted: “I’m going to kill you and I’ll confess  all to the police. Our children will live with someone else.”

But thankfully Allah’s screams drew attention and locals came running.  Neighbours tried to help her to hospital but Gulam stopped them, afraid of  police tracing his crime.

Allah Rakhi

Health check … the surgeon checks out his handiwork

Cover Asia Press


Eventually, Allah was carried home, screaming in agony. A doctor called out by  friends refused to treat her other than prescribe some sleeping pills for  fear of the police.

Eventually, 24 hours later, word reached Allah’s parents and they took her  straight to hospital – where she stayed for three months.

She said: “There were some very sad days. I found it hard to go on. But I had  to find the strength to carry on for my children.”

Gulam Abbas, 50, was eventually arrested and jailed before he managed to beg  for a pardon and was released a year later, under Pakistan law.

Within months Allah had a divorce granted and tried to carry on with her life.

Allah Rakhi

New life … Allah hopes to get a job and a home of her own after surgery

Cover Asia Press


“It was hard to live with no nose,” she added. “There were many things I  couldn’t do, like smell, taste, breathe properly.

“But most of all I found it hard to go out, people were always staring and  pointing.”

Human rights groups report that Pakistani women suffer severe discrimination  and widespread domestic violence.

After many years of suffering in silence, Allah, with the help of her daughter  Uzma, turned to the Acid Survivors Foundation, who help women affected by  domestic violence in developing countries.

And on April 2 this year, Allah went into surgery, surrounded by her friends  and family, at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, outside Islamabad.

Surgeon, Professor Hamid Hussain, took flesh and bone from her rib cage and  abdomen and created a new nose.

“All I remember from that day is waking up and seeing everyone smiling down at  me. It was a happy day,” she said.

“I just want to live the rest of my life in peace now. I never want to marry  again, I just want happiness for myself and family.”


LAHORE, Pakistan, May 21 (CDN) — A band of Muslims this month severely beat a pregnant Christian woman in Punjab’s Narowal district – causing her to lose female twins to miscarriage – in an effort pressure her family into dropping charges of raping her 13-year-old niece, the woman’s husband said.
Asher Masih of Dhamala village told Compass by phone that the men attacked his home on May 8.
“All three male members of our family, including my father, brother and myself, were out for work when Irfan Safdar and his accomplices trespassed into our house and started beating up my mother, sister-in-law and my wife, who was in her fifth month of pregnancy, mercilessly,” he said.
Masih’s elderly mother said she pleaded for the attackers to spare his wife, but they did not listen.
“They murdered our children, they raped our daughter,” she said. “We have nothing left with us.”
In a country where Muslim criminals believe police and courts will give little credence to the complaints of Christians, the family accuses three Muslims of gang-raping the girl at an outhouse on March 29.
“She had gone to a nearby field to use the toilet when she was forcibly taken away by three men later identified as Irfan Safdar and Shahid. Their third accomplice remains unidentified as yet,” Masih said. “At first we thought that she might have stopped at some neighbor’s house, but when she did not return after a long time, we set out to look for her.”
He said a villager informed the family that he had seen Safdar and two others taking the girl to an outhouse. The family rushed to the site, but Safdar and his accomplices fled, Masih said.
“We found [name withheld] inside the outhouse, raped and badly injured,” he said.
Masih said the family tried to register a First Information Report (FIR) with local police, but officers turned a deaf ear, as Safdar is the son of former police inspector Safdar Bajwa.
“They also refused to register [the victim’s] statement under Section 164, which is mandatory in such cases,” he said.
Police refused to file their complaint for more than a week, during which time the suspects repeatedly threatened the family, he said.
“They told us we were poor and weak and could not face them no matter how much we tried,” Masih said. “There are about four or five Christian families in the overwhelmingly Muslim village, but almost everyone is fed up with the Bajwa family because of their criminal activities.”
Safdar Bajwa first denied that his son was involved in the case, but when several Muslim villagers started visiting the police station with the victim’s family, the accused surrendered a servant identified as Shahid to police, saying he had raped the girl, Masih said.
“The police tried to give a clean sheet to Irfan in the initial investigation, because of his father’s influence, but then registered FIR No. 145/12 under Section 376 against three men, including Irfan, when the villagers insisted,” he said, adding that police still did not arrest Safdar. “In April, Irfan and his accomplices illegally grabbed a piece of land owned by us. They did this to pressure us into giving up the case, but we stood our ground. We are poor, but we chose not to compromise on our honor.”
Masih said the Muslim family used various tactics to compel the victim’s family to drop the charges, and when all efforts failed, they attacked their house.
After neighbors informed the men at work of the attack, they took the injured women to a hospital.
“The doctors tried to save the babies, but Nosheen had a miscarriage because of the severe injuries inflicted by the attackers,” he said, adding that his wife was still in a state of shock and grief.
Masih said that the family has registered case No. 184/12 against Irfan Safdar and nine others, but the suspects managed to get pre-arrest bails with the help of police.
“Their interim bails end on May 22, and we know they will be able to influence their way out of this case as well,” he said. ‘There is no justice for the poor and helpless in Pakistan, especially if you belong to a minority community.”
Thus far, he added, they have received no assistance from any government or Christian organization.
“We cannot leave the village, because we don’t have any other place or means to go,” he said. “The villagers are giving moral support to us, but we need help in facing this situation. In villages, it is the police that matter, and in this case, the entire police machinery is working against us.”
Saddar Station House Officer Sohail Tariq was unavailable for comment.




To date, the police refuses to liberate the girl, despite the repeated requests of the family. Mary Salik (fictitious name) was kidnapped last May 4 near Faisalabad by an uncle who had converted to Islam. The girl’s father denounces conspiracy against his family: “My daughter has heart problems and was kidnapped by deception”.


Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – The family of Mary Salik (fictional name for security reasons)  asks for justice for the 14 year old Christian girl, kidnapped last May 4 in Ali (Faisalabad, Punjab) and forced to convert to Islam. The author of the kidnapping is the uncle of the girl, who embraced Islam about a year ago and since then ended all contact with the family of origin. He kidnapped the young girl to marry her off with his son Kashif. The wedding was celebrated on 7 May.
The girl’s father, told AsiaNews that “my daughter is only 14 years old and suffers from the birth from heart problems and can not do heavy work. After converting my brother is conspiring against our family and kidnapped Mary with deception “.
Immediately after the seizure, the father of the young Christian girl turned to local police and demanded the immediate release of his daughter, but the agents refused to return Mary to her family. According to police, the girl converted of her own free will and submitted as evidence a written statement in which the girl says to “be mature and have embraced Islam without coercion or threats.”
To get their daughter back, the parents decided to find a compromise with the help of some influential people in the area and have filed a petition against the police officers.
Fr. Bonnie Mendes, priest and activist, former secretary of the Pakistan National Commission for Justice and Peace, speaks of the abuses suffered by the Christian community. “Although we are free to pray – he says – and to practice our religion, we are threatened when we try to defend our rights.” The priest denounces the problem of cases of forced conversions to Islam of young Christians, which together with the blasphemy law is one of the most severe violations of religious freedom to the detriment of minorities. For Fr. Mendes Mary’s case is against the teachings of Islam. In fact, those who want to convert require an iddat, a discernment period that must last at least three months. However, due to ignorance, illiteracy and social injustice, most Muslims do not observe this rule.
Each month between 25 and 30 young girls suffer similar abuses, for a yearly total of about 300 conversions and forced marriages. Hindu girls – but also Christian – who are torn from the family while very young and delivered into the hands of their husbands / torturers. One case recently made headlines when the Pakistani Supreme Court forced three young Hindu women to return to their Muslim husbands, despite the desire of the young girls to return to their family. The young women were kidnapped in February, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. On March 26 Rinkle Kumari, one of the girls, told the judges of the Court that there “is no justice in this country only for Muslims, justice is denied Hindus. Kill me here, now, in court. But do not send me back to the Darul-Aman [Koranic school] … they will kill us. ” The other two young girls, Lata and Asha, had expressed, in vain, the desire to be reunited with their families.




” On Tuesday, they started arguing over who would cook the breakfast. I got tired and shot them both dead,” Ashraf.

Pakistan, BAHAWALPUR: Yazman police on Tuesday arrested a man, Mohammad Ashraf, who killed his two wives and a six-month old son and injured a three-year old daughter in Chak 49 DB of Yazman.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Ramazan Ahmed, the father of Mohammad Ashraf’s first wife Khadija, said, “My daughter married her cousin Ashraf five years ago. She gave birth to two children; Dua, 3, and Husnain, 6 months old.

“Around a year ago, when Ashraf was working in Faisalabad, he met and married Imrana. He did not tell his first wife about the marriage but told me about it later.”

“Last week, he asked Imrana to start living in the same house as his first wife. Once she moved in, there were arguments between the two wives.”

“Khadija told Ashraf in my presence to divorce Imrana. The rest of the family supported her but Ashraf did not agree.”

“On Tuesday morning Ashraf shot both his wives, Husnain and Dua.”

While the others died on the spot, Dua was taken to the Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur, where doctors treating her said her condition was critical.

Yazman SHO Amir Ghauri told The Express Tribune that police had arrested Ashraf from a bus to Faisalabad. He said they had also recovered the gun.

He said Ashraf had confessed to the killings.

“On Tuesday, they started fighting over who would cook the breakfast. I shot them both dead,” he reported Ashraf as having said.




Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Three young Hindu women abducted in February and forced to convert to Islam and marry three Muslim men must return to their husbands, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled. For the justices, the three women freely chose their fate. Their families object that they were placed under huge pressure from Muslim religious groups.

On 26 March, one of the three women, Rinkle Kumari (pictured), told the judges that she wanted to go back to her family. In her statement to the court, she said, “there is justice only for Muslims; there is no justice for Hindus. Kill me here in court, but don’t send me to Darul-Aman (Qur’anic school). All these people are hand in glove, they will kill us”.

The other two women expressed a similar desire to go back to their family.

“This is a great injustice,” said Hindu activist Dilip Kumar. “Three weeks ago, the three women said they wanted to go back to their parents, but the judges chose to send them to prison to put pressure on them.” If they had not returned to their husbands, he believes, Muslims would have killed them.

For Fr Anwar Patras, a priest from the diocese of Rawalpindi, the court bent to the will of Muslim groups who kidnap young Hindu and Christian women to force them to convert and become prostitutes.

“The government must adopt a law against forced conversions,” he said. “It is clear that the young women were put under pressure to convert. The Supreme Court was their last hope and it let them down.”

Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old Hindu student was abducted on 24 February in Mirpur Mathelo, a small village in Sindh (southeastern Pakistan), by a thugs hired by a rich Muslim scholar.

The two other women, Lata and Asha, were abducted in Jacobabad and Larkana.

In order to get their daughters back, the parents filed a petition with the Supreme Court to avoid the local Islamic court.

On 26 March, the three women appeared before the court, testifying that they had been forced to convert and that they wanted to go back to their families.

The justices incarcerated them to allow them “to reflect” on their choice without the possibility of meeting their parents.

Each month, 25 to 30 young women are abducted for a total of about 300 forced conversions and marriages a year.

Young Hindu but also Christian women and teenage girls are taken away from their families and handed over to their would-be husbands and torturers.


ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday deferred the Domestic Violence Protection (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2009 following strong resistance by opposition parties including the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).

It was none other than JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who dared the government to take the Bill through the house, warning his party would oppose it tooth and nail.

The National Assembly had passed the bill in 2009 but it could be passed in Senate within the stipulated 90 days, which is the legal requirement of the Constitution. Now, according to the rules of business this bill can be passed only in the joint sitting of the Parliament. Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Yasmeen Rehman had, earlier, tabled the bill stressing to institutionalise measures required to protect women and children from domestic violence. The House along with some amendments introduced by the MQM MNA, SA Iqbal Qadri, passed the bill.

The government wanted to move the long-pending Domestic Violence Bill, 2009 on Thursday when opposition opposed the fresh move saying, the bill could not get pass from the Parliament till it has been amended further. “We know bitterly about women’s rights than the PPP–Western culture can not be promoted on name of protection in Islamic states,” observed the JUI-F Chief.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmakers MNAs Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and Khwaja Saad Rafiq also expressed their concerns over some clauses in the bill, suggesting the government amend these. Muttahida Qaumi Movement parliamentary leader Haider Abbas Rizvi was of the view that the bill ought to be passed without delay, urging the chair to give its ruling for passage of the bill.

On this point, Fazl ur Rehman again suggested that the matter should be referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). But PPP Senator Raza Rabbani pointed out that the bill could not be referred to the CII under the law.

Lawmakers across party lines under head of PPP senior minister Syed Khurshid Shah will put their heads together and try to build consensus over the issue on Friday.




“First I killed Habibullah. Then I killed my wife,” says husband, unaware that his wife had survived the shooting and was recovering at Rajanpur DHQ hospital.

RAJANPUR: Two people were killed and another was critically injured on  Monday in ‘honour’ crimes in Rajanpur.

Basti Chachar resident  Hafeezullah shot his wife, Parveen Bibi, 17, and relative, Habibullah, suspecting them of  having illicit relations.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Hafeezullah said, “I had been following Habibullah after I saw him leaving my home in my absence. I caught my wife, Parveen, talking to him. His relationship to me does not matter. My wife need not talk to my relatives.”

“First I killed Habibullah. Then I killed my wife,” he said, unaware that his wife had survived the shooting and was recovering at Rajanpur DHQ hospital.

DHQ hospital Medical Superintendent Sultan Laghari said, “Parveen Bibi is out of danger but we will keep her at the hospital for a week and monitor her recovery.”

He said she had been shot twice in the abdomen and once in her leg.

Habibullah’s brother Abdul Hameed filed a complaint against three people, including Hafizullah and Parveen’s father Sadiq on charges of murder.

Rajanpur SHO Talib Babar said, “The main accused has been arrested but two others are still at large. They will be arrested soon.”

Habibullah’s body was handed over to relatives after post mortem.

In another incident, Noor Bhari, 20, a resident of Shah Wali, was slaughtered by her brother-in-law Shakal Khan for having ‘loose morals.’

According to the DHQ hospital post mortem report, her legs and then her arms were chopped before she was killed. Her upper body was thrown near the canal while her limbs were buried under a shrub close by.  Police recovered these when her husband Hameed Khan led them to the place.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Hameed said his brother, Shakal Khan, had told him to keep his wife at home and accused her loose morals. He said that he had seen Shakal Khan leave from the place were the body was recovered.

Noor Bhari’s brother Shah Meer has filed a complaint against Shakal Khan.  The accused had not been arrested by the time this report was filed.

Investigating Officer Shamsher Ali said the accused will be arrested soon.




Tags: #women, A, Shariunveiled, attacks, fraction, of, tiny

Views: 1163

Replies to This Discussion

Acid attacks: “I couldn’t look at myself, let alone let others look at me”

Throwing acid, along with other forms of gender-based violence, is endemic in Pakistan and elsewhere. Often, the victims are already disenfranchised, poor, and from conservative backgrounds - they have nowhere else to turn.


Acid attack victim Asiya Bibe, 35, poses with a portrait before disfigurement
Acid attack victim Asiya Bibe, 35, poses with a portrait before her disfigurement. Photograph: Getty Images


Zainab was 12 when it happened. She was at home in her village in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, asleep in bed. Her neighbour’s son climbed over the low walls separating the houses, came into her room, and threw acid on her face.

“It felt like someone had put fire on me,” she says. “No-one could forget that pain. It stays all your life.”

Weeks earlier, the neighbour’s son had proposed to Zainab’s sister and been rejected. He was seeking revenge, but attacked the wrong sister.

Zainab, who is now 19, comes from a poor family, with little money or influence. Rather than go to the police, the family sought the help of their tribal elders, who brought the young man in question before them and demanded to know whether he had committed the crime. He swore on the Qur’an that he hadn’t, and given the potency of the religious book, was released.

“I was scared and I wanted to move,” says Zainab. “I didn’t want to stay there in case it happened again, but all the elders said ‘such things don’t happen all the time’. After exactly one year, he threw it again.”

After the first attack, Zainab had been blinded for two weeks, but eventually recovered, with her face mostly intact. The second time, she was not so lucky. Today, after multiple surgeries (she has lost count of how many operations she has had), her grafted skin is shiny and uneven in colour, in places crinkled like crepe paper. One eye, in which she is permanently blind, is frozen open. Just the corner of her face around the right eye has been left untouched. Her eyelashes are long, her cheekbone prominent; an image of a former self. For several years after the attack, she would only leave the house with a headscarf that covered her whole face except for that section.

“I couldn’t look at myself, let alone let others look at me,” she says. “I didn’t see my own face in the mirror for a long time. I thought that no-one would ever talk to me again.”

What happened to Zainab was not unique. The Acid Survivors Network estimates that in Pakistan, around 150 women have acid thrown on them every year. The real number is likely to be higher as many cases still go unreported. The crime is made easy by the ready availability of acid, which is used in the cotton industry to treat the seeds, clean the fibres, and enhance germination. It is also used as a cheap cleaning fluid for machinery, or even in the house. In Pakistan, crimes are most prevalent in northern Sindh and southern Punjab, where the cotton is the dominant industry.

The Acid Survivor’s Foundation (ASF) is located in a large house in an up and coming area of Islamabad. The streets nearby are dotted with building sites as apartment buildings are erected. From the outside, there is little to distinguish it from other houses on the street, but as you enter, you must cover your shoes with plastic pouches, to prevent dirt from getting in. The centre provides accommodation for victims while they are having medical, legal, and psychological support.

“Acid violence is unfortunately an endemic phenomenon, as gender-based violence is,” says Valerie Khan, director of ASF, sitting in her office, in the downstairs portion of the house. “It’s not the most prevalent form of gender-based violence, but it’s one of the most horrific. The consequences of acid crimes are very specific, and very long-term. There is physical disfigurement, handicaps, social stigma, social ostracism, depression, and socio-economic disempowerment. And we are already talking about vulnerable people and communities.”

Acid attacks are not an exclusively Pakistani problem. Statistics for this underreported crime are difficult to collate, but attacks happen all over the world, from nearby India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Colombia and Peru. Incidents have been recorded in the UK and the US, but they are predominantly found in countries where women are disenfranchised and where acid is easily available. Attention has focused on the Pakistani situation after Saving Face, a documentary on the topic, won an Oscar in 2012.

After tireless lobbying by ASF, other civil society organisations, and female parliamentarians, legislation was passed in 2010 that criminalised acid violence for the first time. Under these new laws, throwing a corrosive substance with the intent to disfigure carries a punishment of between 14 years and life, with fines of up to 1 million rupees. However, the battle is far from over.

“What we were not able to do was pass the substantive bill on acid control and acid throwing,” explains Shahnaz Wazir Ali, a parliamentarian who was active on the acid bill. “The bill fell prey to the fact that acid is produced in chemical factories for multiple industrial purposes. So any very rigorous control mechanism was objected to by the industrial sector. From our perspective, if acid is thrown on a woman, we want to trace it back: how did the person get the acid? But that takes you into this whole world of chemical industrial production. I hope that next parliament we’ll be able to do something.”

When a similarly comprehensive bill was introduced in Bangladesh, the number of acid crimes dropped from 500 per year to just 60. While campaigners continue to work for this further legislation, there have been some positive changes already. Reported incidents have gone up three fold, from 55 in 2010 to 150 in 2011. But prosecutions rates remain low, partly due to poor enforcement and weak governance across the board, but also because of misogynistic attitudes among police and judges, and poor access to justice. While convictions have tripled from 7 per cent in 2007 to 18 per cent in 2011, the rate remains very low.

The majority of women who are victims of acid attacks are already disenfranchised, poor, and from conservative backgrounds. With limited education and few resources in the face of rampant police corruption, they are left with nowhere to turn.  

Saida, 20, comes from a village in Aturk, a region in the far north of the country. She was married off very young, but although she says she loved her husband very much, it was not an easy marriage. “He used to leave me at my mother’s house or with other relatives and disappear for days,” she says, sitting in one of the room’s at ASF’s refuge. “My mother was angry I was going through this, she said it’s not how couples live.” In 2008, Saida’s family began to think about divorce. During a stay with her parents, the family went out to a wedding. Saida, knowing her husband was due back, decided to wait at home, excited to see him. “I was all dressed up, wearing make up and my good wedding clothes. He came back after 3am and with no explanation, he threw acid on me.”

The damage to her face was devastating. Even now, after multiple surgeries, her nose, partially dissolved in the attack, has lost its shape. Like other acid victims, her skin is burnt and uneven. Yet there is a lightness about Saida’s demeanour. She speaks quickly and energetically, and holds her head high.

Like Zainab, Saida’s first step was to go to her village elders, who did nothing. Her initial attempts to fight the case were hindered by her lack of education. “I am illiterate, I don’t know anything,” she says, smiling. “It was very, very hard to get through the process because people would make me sign things and I wouldn’t know what it said. I nearly signed a form saying I was dropping the case, when ASF’s field officer found me and told me what it said.”

After that, ASF’s lawyers took up the case. Saida’s husband was arrested and sentenced to 21 years in jail. Soon afterwards, the sentence was reduced to 14 years, and then to seven. Now, three and a half years later, he is free. He was also ordered to give Saida 22 lakhs of rupees (around £14,600) which was then reduced to 15 lakhs (around £10,000). He has yet to give her a penny.

“Initially I didn’t want to fight the case as I was scared that he would kill me,” she says, her feet nervously squirming. “But now I just have hatred for him. He is roaming around out of jail like a crazy fellow and he keeps threatening that he’ll do it again or do it to my family. I am too angry to be scared. I want him to realise he’s ruined my life. I am angry that nothing scares him. Jail didn’t affect him. He doesn’t realise he’s done something so extremely wrong.”

Zainab’s attempts at seeking justice were even less successful. After the second attack, Zainab’s family went to the police. “Nothing happened because the other family had big people on their side and they paid off the police,” she says, her voice a monotone. When she pursued the case, the neighbours kidnapped her younger brother and kept him for two days, so the family withdrew the charges. “Everyone knows it’s changed my life and I deserve justice. Something like this should happen to him or his children. It hurts a lot to see your child go through this. I’m someone’s child too.”

Of course, the legal battle is only part of the journey. Acid attacks leave women psychologically traumatised, disfigured, and frequently partially disabled, as the acid can cause muscles to fuse together painfully. The process of rehabilitation is slow, harrowing, and not readily available. Currently ASF is the only facility in the country catering specifically for victims of acid crimes.

“Acid attack doesn’t mean the end of your life,” says Khan. “Provided you receive those rehabilitation services, to psychologically and physically repair you, mentally rebuild your self-confidence, and empower you economically so that you can acquire new skills, start your education again, or find a job – despite the new you, which is not necessarily an easy one to be accepted with.”

Khan notes that as awareness of acid violence has increased, the level of basic first aid care provided at hospitals has improved, with doctors pouring a lot of water on the wounds to remove the acid and prevent infection and dehydration.

Saida, who was attacked back in 2008, did not benefit from this. At her local hospital in Aturk, the doctors had no idea what was wrong with her. “I was very swollen and I didn’t get the correct treatment because no-one realised what had happened. The wounds smelled because the skin was burning, so they kept moving my bed outside the ward,” she says. It was only when she was referred to ASF that she received proper treatment.

While medical and legal assistance are a crucial part of recovery, the psychological difficulty of coming to terms with such an attack can be practically insurmountable. Fauzia is the head nurse at ASF, who is tasked with the welfare of survivors. “When they come initially, they are depressed and crying all the time, they don’t want to talk to anyone, and they’d prefer to die,” she says, sitting next to a mini foosball table, recently bought to entertain patients. “The most important thing when an attack happens is how the person looks. So we take the patient to the doctor, which is beneficial because it gives the patients hope – you’re not going to look like this forever, we’ll keep working on you, and things will get better. They have psychological treatment alongside this. It’s a continuous process.”

There are many success stories, but also some women who cannot be rehabilitated and commit suicide. A high profile example of this was Fakhra Yunus, who killed herself in Rome last year after undergoing cosmetic surgery. The vast majority of victims have been attacked by someone within their family, and many continue to live with the perpetrator. For many, this is preferable to adding the stigma of divorce.

It has been four years since Zainab first received treatment at ASF. She speaks articulately and confidently, and glows with pride when she talks about travelling to Bangladesh to address a conference about acid crimes. Until the first attack, she attended school, but dropped out after it happened. Now, she says she has the confidence to return to studies.

“Whatever God has decided for me, whatever opportunities I get, I will take,” she says. “I want to go out there and step into the world and experience life like I deserve to, but it can be hard.”

She describes a recent incident, when she went to register for her ID card after turning 18. “The lady there kept asking what had happened to my face. I didn’t want to tell her about the acid because when I talk about it, the memories come back and it’s the pain all over again. I told her I got boiling water on it and she asked if I had done it myself.” As she is speaking, she starts to weep. After so much effort to put her life back together, the small humiliations are still hard to bear. “I got really depressed that people are so inconsiderate,” she says. “They should let me live my life normally.”

Zainab is full of hope for her future, and relieved that she still has the vision in one eye. Saida feels it is too late to get an education, but has done some training as a seamstress and wants to start a tailoring business from her house. In other ways, too, the process of recovery has left her empowered. Not only is she pursuing the legal case against her husband, but after receiving proper treatment, she went back to the hospital that had mistreated her and told them they should learn to do their jobs properly. For a woman from a background so conservative that she did not leave the house alone even before the attack, this is quite an achievement.

“Initially, I used to cry and I used to scream, but now, truly in my heart, I don’t think I’m ugly,” says Saida. “I feel that I’m beautiful and I don’t think I have anything to fear.”

Rather than go to the police, the family sought the help of their tribal elders, who brought the young man in question before them and demanded to know whether he had committed the crime. He swore on the Qur’an that he hadn’t, and given the potency of the religious book, was released.

Why of course!  If he swore on that beautiful oh-so-holy book, he must be telling the truth.  And if you disagree with that, why, they'll cut your throat too!  Why not?  After all, the Socialist and Liberal Fascists will back them all up.

Pakistani woman burned alive for leaving home without permission

Published time: April 19, 2015 21:09  Get short URL
Reuters / Nayef Hashlamoun

Reuters / Nayef Hashlamoun

A Pakistani woman was burnt alive by her husband and his father because she left home without permission – the latest example of the country’s brutal “honor killings.”

Muhammad Siddique was arrested along with his father for immolating his 25-year old wife Shabana Bibi after she went to visit her sister on Friday without asking him, police reported on Sunday.

Upon her return Siddique got enraged and he and his father beat her, said her brother Muhammad Azam. They then doused her with gasoline and set her on fire. Bibi died in hospital on Saturday after suffering burns to 80 percent of her body.

“We have arrested the husband and father-in-law of the deceased woman and charged them for murder and terrorism,” district police chief Rai Zameer-ul-Haq told AFP. The charge of “terrorism” is often applied in such cases to speed up and simplify the trial.

Bibi had been married to Siddique for three years. Her brother said she previously experienced spousal abuse after the couple had problems conceiving a child.

‘Honor killing’ is a form of domestic violence practiced against women on the grounds of defending family ‘honor.’ Hundreds of women become victims of such homicide every year in Pakistan. In November 2014 four men were sentenced to death over the massacre of their female relative who married against the will of her family.

The Aurat Foundation, a campaign group that works to protect the rights of women in Pakistan, says more than 3,000 women have been murdered as a result of such attacks by family members since 2008.


Page Monitor

Just fill in the box below on any 4F page to be notified when it changes.

Privacy & Unsubscribe respected

Muslim Terrorism Count

Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11

Mission Overview

Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.

Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.

We need to capture this information before it is removed.  The site already contains sufficient information to cover most issues, but our members add further updates when possible.

We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.

The 4 Freedoms

These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 
1. SP Freedom of Speech
Any speech is allowed - except that advocating the end of these freedoms
2. SP Freedom of Election
Any party is allowed - except one advocating the end of these freedoms
3. SP Freedom from Voter Importation
Immigration is allowed - except where that changes the political demography (this is electoral fraud)
4. SP Freedom from Debt
The Central Bank is allowed to create debt - except where that debt burden can pass across a generation (25 years).

An additional Freedom from Religion is deducible if the law is applied equally to everyone:

  • Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"

© 2021   Created by Netcon.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service