Acid attacks have become a plague. Pakistan is no stranger to its populace being subjected to personal and physical affliction of injuries. Being especially true in terms of marriage debacles that exist amongst the proletariats. This particular epidemic is often under-discussed and overlooked. All because of lack of tangible solutions promising safety to all those under threat.

Acid Attacks

It was this that inspired the Oscar winning documentation on acid attack victims; “Saving Face”.

However, bringing this national scourge to international awareness does not seem to have done much for those inclined to take such drastic steps to ‘punish’ those they feel are deserving of this ill-fate.

Such was the pitiable fortune of 24 year old Asima residing in Sialkot. On April 13th, on what was considerably a regular day for her, Asima’s face and body was cascaded with a flesh melting acid by Rizwan, who had declared his intentions to marry her.

Acid Attacks

The reason for this act was no other than Asima’s mere refusal to join Rizwan in matrimony.

The rebuttal was based on a difference of religion. Not that a reason is required. As informed by Asima’s father Yaqub Masih, it was learnt that she had to be shifted to Mayo Hospital, Lahore. This was due to the evidently fatal intensity of her burns. After fighting for survival for 5 days in Lahore, Asima breathed her last and succumbed to her injuries on April 18th.

Asima is not the first. And she is not anticipated to be the last victim of such a case. As a matter of fact, cases of acid burn victims have only been on a rise since early 2000.

In 2014 alone, 153 acid attacks were reported. All rooted from a single cause – a woman’s refusal to marry.

However, in the years 2015 and 2016, foundations and unions were established to take the matter into control. The ASF (Acid Survivors Foundation) and NCSW (National Commission on the Status of Women) managed to steady the problem by 50%.

Acid Attacks

The percentage of acid attacks recorded are on a constant rise spiking to a flopping 69.9% in 2015. Most of these were seen to be in Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Kashmir respectively.

If it isn’t Asima, it is a schoolgirl attacked by a man named Saif. It is also a 36 year old Shamim from Multan disfigured by Sadaqat upon refusal to marry.

The list goes on.

Every day the percentage of acid victims seems to increase. There is no appeasing change implemented by the system.

Acid Attacks Despite having filed an FIR and protesting as a holistic Christian community, Yaqub Masih was unable to attain any palpable justice for his now deceased daughter.

In opposition, the nature of the attack was also mislead. It was misrepresented in the FIR that was filed, leading to Rizwan’s arrest.

Even upon research it was made evident that all attack victims are officially reported as “self-inflicted.”

We live in a time where despite the exposure, people of all classes and literacy backgrounds have found a way to take justice into their own hands. The fate of women is decided by those who intend to marry them. Females of all ages are castigated in order to be “taught” a lesson. They are made unappealing to all those they might desire or vice versa. In worse case scenarios, these women often capitulate to their injuries and perish without any hope for justice.

Male chauvinists that exist in all spectrums of society find a way to deface women. They also get away with it without a reprehensible punishment for their actions.

Women need to be provided with safety. Refusal to marriage is a right given to women by law and religion. It is men like Rizwan, Saif and a plethora of others that need to be put behind bars for life. They should be made to face the same fate as the women they’ve deformed.

That is the only way in which those who intend to do the same can be taught, a life defying lesson.


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