My Google Page Rank

Prominent Pakistani acid victim commits suicide

PDFPrintE-mail

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani acid attack victim Fakhra Younus had endured more than three dozen surgeries over more than a decade to repair her severely damaged face and body when she finally decided life was no longer worth living.

The 33-year-old former dancing girl — who was allegedly attacked by her then-husband, an ex-lawmaker and son of a political powerhouse — jumped from the sixth floor of a building in Rome, where she had been living and receiving treatment.

Her March 17 suicide and the return of her body to Pakistan on Sunday reignited furor over the case, which received significant international attention at the time of the attack. Her death came less than a month after a Pakistani filmmaker won the country's first Oscar for a documentary about acid attack victims.

Younus' story highlights the horrible mistreatment many women face in Pakistan's conservative, male-dominated culture and is a reminder that the country's rich and powerful often appear to operate with impunity. Younus' ex-husband, Bilal Khar, was eventually acquitted, but many believe he used his connections to escape the law's grip — a common occurrence in Pakistan.

More than 8,500 acid attacks, forced marriages and other forms of violence against women were reported in Pakistan in 2011, according to The Aurat Foundation, a women's rights organization. Because the group relied mostly on media reports, the figure is likely an undercount.
"The saddest part is that she realized that the system in Pakistan was never going to provide her with relief or remedy," Nayyar Shabana Kiyani, an activist at The Aurat Foundation, said of Younus. "She was totally disappointed that there was no justice available to her."

Younus was a teenage dancing girl working in the red light district of the southern city of Karachi when she met her future husband, the son of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, a former governor of Pakistan's largest province, Punjab. The unusual pairing was the younger Khar's third marriage. He was in his mid-30s at the time.

The couple was married for three years, but Younus eventually left him because he allegedly physically and verbally abused her. She claimed that he came to her mother's house while she was sleeping in May 2000 and poured acid all over her in the presence of her 5-year-old son from a different man.

Tehmina Durrani, Ghulam Mustafa Khar's ex-wife and his son's stepmother, became an advocate for Younus after the attack, drawing international attention to the case. She said that Younus' injuries were the worst she had ever seen on an acid attack victim.
"So many times we thought she would die in the night because her nose was melted and she couldn't breathe," said Durrani, who wrote a book about her own allegedly abusive relationship with the elder Khar. "We used to put a straw in the little bit of her mouth that was left because the rest was all melted together."

She said Younus, whose life had always been hard, became a liability to her family, for whom she was once a source of income.
"Her life was a parched stretch of hard rock on which nothing bloomed," Durrani wrote in a column in The News after Younus' suicide.
Younus' ex-husband grew up in starkly different circumstances, amid the wealth and power of the country's feudal elite, and counts Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar as a cousin.

Bilal Khar once again denied carrying out the acid attack in a TV interview following her suicide, suggesting a different man with the same name committed the crime. He claimed Younus killed herself because she didn't have enough money, not because of her horrific injuries, and criticized the media for hounding him about the issue.

"You people should be a little considerate," said Khar. "I have three daughters and when they go to school people tease them."
In February, Younus said in one of her last interviews that powerful Pakistanis brutally treat ordinary citizens and "don't know how painful they make others' lives."
"I want such people to be treated in the same way" as they treat people whose lives they ruin, she told Geo TV over the telephone from Rome.
Younus was energized when the Pakistani government enacted a new set of laws last year that explicitly criminalized acid attacks and mandated that convicted attackers would serve a minimum sentence of 14 years, said Durrani. She hoped to return someday to get justice once her health stabilized.

"She said, 'When I come back, I will reopen the case, and I'll fight myself,' and she was a fighter," Durrani said.
Durrani had to battle with both Younus' ex-husband and the government to send her to Italy, where the Italian government paid for her treatment and provided her money to live on and send her child to school. Pakistani officials argued that sending Younus to Italy would give the country a bad name, Durrani said.

Younus was happy when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won an Oscar for her documentary about acid attack victims in February, but was worried about being forgotten since she wasn't profiled in the film, said Durrani.
Durrani said Younus' case should be a reminder that the Pakistani government needs to do much more to prevent acid attacks and other forms of violence against women, and also help the victims.

"I think this whole country should be extremely embarrassed that a foreign country took responsibility for a Pakistani citizen for 13 years because we could give her nothing, not justice, not security," said Durrani.

Associated Press writers Zarar Khan and Asif Shahzad contributed to this report.

by Sebastian Abbot




Related news items:
Newer news items:
Older news items:

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Mini-grocery loses P.5M to robbers

20 Sep 2017 Hits:74 Be the first to comment!

The Sta. Maria Police (Police Station 7) is now conducting a deeper probe on the robbery of a mini-grocery in Barangay Tumaga, this city, where the sum of P500,000 was discovered missing on Monday morning. Chief Inspector Rolly Joaquino, station commander, said that a certain Raquel Perez y Rogicio, 37, of Zone 2, Tumaga reported that she discovered the robbery incident transpired  at Hersey Snow store about 3 a.m., Monday. She claimed that the half million pesos placed inside her color peach bag was missing inside her room adjacent to the establishment and believed to have been stolen. PO2 Almonjade Luddin, investigator-on-case, conducted an ocular investigation at the establishment however, he failed to establish any sign of forced entry. He further revealed that the [...] Read more

Prev Next Page:

Three hurt including a minor in vehicular incident

20 Sep 2017 Hits:65 Be the first to comment!

Three persons including a minor were injured after they were hit by a motorcycle along MCLL Highway, Barangay Quiniput, this city, last Saturday. Police identified the injured victims as Floribel Perez [...] Read more


SLIPPERY MOVES OF… FLORA

20 Sep 2017 Hits:55 Be the first to comment!

Este si Flora May S. Ceno, ta llama conele Flora , 20 años de edad, residente de Poblacion, Lakewood Zamboanga Del Sur . Su mayores si Rolando M. Ceno y [...] Read more


FIGHTER’S VISION... GHEN YAN

17 Sep 2017 Hits:77 Be the first to comment!

Este si Ghen Yhan Cabayaruz Berdon , su palayao “yan Yan”, 15 años de edad 5’4” el altor, anak di Agbayani D. Berdon y Genalyn Cabayacruz Berdon , hermano  si [...] Read more


ENDURANCE DASHER … JEK

15 Sep 2017 Hits:91 Be the first to comment!

Este si Jeric Sabungan Gaceta , su palayao “Jek”, 19 años de edad, 5’6” el altor , residente de Barangay Camino Nuevo , Ciudad de Zamboanga . Su mayores si [...] Read more


ROOKIE VISION… PETER

13 Sep 2017 Hits:101 Be the first to comment!

Este si Peter Edward Patual Ignacio , ta llama conele “Peter”, 18 años de edad, 6’3” el altor, residente de Navarro Court Ext, Sta Maria, Ciudad de Zamboanga . Su [...] Read more


BEST OF THE BEST - SILVER…..JELSEA

12 Sep 2017 Hits:96 Be the first to comment!

Este si Jelsea Nicole Batayen Arboiz , ta llama conele “Jelsea“, 13 años de edad , anak di Roger P. Arboiz y Marites A. Batayen , su hermana si Julie [...] Read more


UPRISING GOLDEN ACHIEVER… NICA

10 Sep 2017 Hits:112 Be the first to comment!

Este si Veronica Padillo Sagrado , ta llama conele na palayao “Nica” , 13 años de edad , anak di Ferdinand Elloreg Sagrado  y Marilyn Padillo Sagrado , su hermana [...] Read more


Factory worker nabbed for illegal drugs

07 Sep 2017 Hits:144 Be the first to comment!

A worker at a canning factory was conducted to Police Station 9 after he was caught in possession of a sachet of alleged shabu while entering the premises of Universal [...] Read more


Student stabbed in street brawl

07 Sep 2017 Hits:134 Be the first to comment!

A grade 9 student was rushed to the hospital after he was stabbed during a brawl in Sitio Pasay, Barangay San Roque, this city, Tuesday. Police Station 7, investigator-on-case from the [...] Read more


PANTHER MOVES… VEN VEN

07 Sep 2017 Hits:103 Be the first to comment!

Este si Kaven Repollo Carandang , su palayao “ven ven “, 14 años de edad ,residente de MalasigaTalungan , Barangay San Roque , Ciudad de Zamboanga . Su mayores si [...] Read more


MUAY THAI BRAWLER…. IAN

06 Sep 2017 Hits:115 Be the first to comment!

Este si Prince Ian Cabayacruz Berdon , ta llama conele “Ian”, 14 años de edad, anak di Agbayani D. Berdon y Genalyn Cabayacruz Berdon . Su hermano si Ghen Yhan [...] Read more


It’s “Business as usual” in ZamPen

06 Sep 2017 Hits:160 Be the first to comment!

Despite the extension of military rule in Mindanao, business remains vibrant in Zamboanga Peninsula. Department of Trade and Industry-9 Regional Director Sitti Amina M. Jain said peace and order remains stable [...] Read more


Swedish national held for questioning

06 Sep 2017 Hits:168 Be the first to comment!

A Swedish National allegedly heading to Basilan Province was prevented from leaving Zamboanga City by personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard Zamboanga Station (PCGZS) on Sunday. A report coming from the [...] Read more


SEA GAMES MUAY THAI BRONZE… RYAN

03 Sep 2017 Hits:126 Be the first to comment!

El diaton Muay Thai Bronze medalist  si Ryan Tarang Jakiri , ta llama conele el “Pilipino assassin” , 25 años de edad, 5’8” el altor , casao cun May Libao [...] Read more


SEA GAMES PENCAK SILAT BRONZE ….JEFF

02 Sep 2017 Hits:124 Be the first to comment!

El diaton Pencak Silat Bronze medalist si Jefferson Rhey Abilay Loon , su palayao “Jeff”, 24 años de edad ,5’7” el altor , residente de Barangay San Roque , anak [...] Read more


SEA GAME BILLIARD STAR…. CHEZKA

01 Sep 2017 Hits:126 Be the first to comment!

El diaton Billiard Cue Star … Chezka Luy Centeno , 18 años el edad , residente de Veterans Avenue Extesion , Tetuan , Ciudad de Zamboanga ,6 sila man Hermana [...] Read more


City preps homecoming rites for SEA games medalists

31 Aug 2017 Hits:140 Be the first to comment!

The City Government is preparing a special homecoming ceremony for Zamboangueño athletes who reaped medals in the recently concluded 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. At the same time, [...] Read more


Pawnshop employee arrested for estafa

31 Aug 2017 Hits:129 Be the first to comment!

A former employee of a pawnshop was arrested for 12 counts of Estafa by personnel of the Detective Management Unit of Police Station 11 led by SPO4 Timhar Jamsikin Canelar [...] Read more