The story from Quetta made it to news channels on May 16.
By Farah Jamil
It was a mistake. The bottle of acid was meant for her sister. But Rimsha, 28, was wearing her sister’s scarf that day.
When the acid drops landed on her face, she screamed and lost consciousness. When she woke up her face had burnt beyond recognition. Her sister Hina, 16, got burn injuries on her hands and legs.
It’s unclear what Vijay’s motive was. But let’s assume he was a dejected lover. Two days earlier, he had bumped his motorbike into Sehrish, Ramsha’s older sister. When she screamed at her audacity, she probably hurt his male ego.
How could a woman talk back, he must have thought. He returned with that corrosive acid and splashed it on the wrong sister. He was not just plain evil, he was downright stupid too.
Rimsha must have been beautiful—looking at the mirror and dressing up might never hold the same meaning for her anymore.
The story from Quetta made it to news channels on May 16. I watched the girl’s bandaged face, squirming in pain. What drives men to such crime, I wonder.
She got shifted to two hospitals, owing to the lack of facilities for burn victims.
I wonder if Vijay will get what he deserves—a bottle of acid thrown at his face. But that’s not what the constitution says—the state has to be civilized even to beasts like Vijay.
The acid crime prevention act 2010 recommends a 14-year to lifetime imprisonment and/or Rs1million fine.
Organizations like the Aurat Foundation maintain that it has never been implemented yet.
There are some things that you can only understand if you are a woman. Pakistan is a tough place for us.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll showed in 2011 that Pakistan ranked third in the most dangerous countries for women in the world. Cultural values and practices posed a huge threat.
The horrific crime, which disfigures and often blinds its overwhelmingly female victims, has long been used to settle personal or family scores with hundreds of cases reported every year.
Exact statistics on acid attacks in Pakistan are not available but roughly around 200 acid attacks take place in Pakistan every year; at least 9000 acid attacks were reported between 1994 and 2011, according to data compiled by the Progressive Women’s Association (PWA). A weak judicial system and lack of support from the police is to be blamed for the under reporting of such cases.
Another major reason is that the victim’s families reach for out of court settlements due to financial pressure and gender inequalities, which prevents the compilation of any official statistics.
Reports of acid burn cases are alarmingly on the rise but legislation to counter this remains wanting.
I wonder if Rimsha will get justice. And if Vijay will get what he deserves. Or will this be just another acid burn victim case that makes it to the newspapers?