Acid victim Fakhra Younus’ suicide shames all Pakistan
The Daily Telegraph: Fakhra Younus, 33, leapt to her death from a sixth floor building in Rome on March 17, almost 12 years after the attack which she said left her looking “not human”.
At the time of the attack, her ex-husband Bilal Khar was accused of entering her mother’s house and pouring acid over her face as she slept. The attack, in front of her then five-year-old son, left her unable to breathe and fighting for her life. She underwent 39 surgical procedures to repair her face in the past decade.
The acid almost completely corroded her nose, burned off her hair, fused her lips, blinded her in one eye, destroyed her left ear and burned her breasts. After being rushed to hospital she said “My face is a prison to me”, while her distraught son said at the time “This is not my mother”.
Ms. Younus moved to Italy to continue treatment in Rome. She left a suicide note complaining of legal indifference to such atrocities and insensitivity by Pakistan’s rulers. Bilal Khar was arrested in 2002 and charged with attempted murder after the attack, only to be released on bail after five months.
The ex-parliamentarian and son of a wealthy Pakistani governor was eventually cleared of the attack, though many believe he could have used his family connections to escape conviction.
Since news of Ms. Younus’s suicide emerged, Khar has continued to deny any part in the attack. He has claimed in a television interview that a different man with the same name carried out the crime.
Khar claimed that his ex-wife killed herself because she did not have enough money, not because of her injuries.
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 organisation.
The Pakistani government introduced new laws last year criminalising acid attacks and stating that convicted attackers would serve at least 14 years in jail.
Tehmina Durrani, the ex-wife of Bilal Khar’s father, had become an advocate for Younus after the attack, and said Younus had pledged to bring her attacker to justice when she had recovered. Ms. Durrani urged the Pakistani government to do much more to prevent violence against women.
“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,” she said.
This not only shames Pakistan, it shames the so-called “religion of peace”. Prayers for this woman and her son she left behind.
H/t beloved Grouchy