Girls can throw acid too

Published: March 13, 2012

Does acid only burn women?

Earlier this week, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy returned to Pakistan after winning an Oscar award for making “Saving Face”, a documentary about women who are victims of acid attacks.

Yesterday, a news report in the media about another acid attack caught everybody’s attention. This time, however, one thing was different; the girl wasn’t attacked, she was the attacker.

Nabeela, an 18-year-old girl, in Faisalabad attacked her boyfriend Asif with acid after he allegedly decided to end a two year commitment. As far as I am aware, this is one of the first cases heard of where a woman has used acid as a weapon.

While I admit my first instinct was to praise to this attack (Take that, men! Women can throw acid too!) I feel sick to my stomach that I could, even for a split second, consider an attack on another person a ‘positive development’. Women need empowerment, they need better access to education and they need  to be informed about their rights. What they do not need is to turn into criminals who throw acid at men who have ‘scorned’ them.

Yes, it’s true that Nabeela felt betrayed. The man she had been in a relationship with hurt her deeply. But why did she choose to throw acid on the man who hurt her? Perhaps it was because this is the only weapon that can be purchased over the counter from every side street store.

It can be bought cheaply and without any kind of license.

You may purchase buckets of it (and perhaps drown children). Or just a bottle (and throw it at a lovers face).

You can be shouting and full of rage while making your purchase – just as long as you have the cash to make your payment.

You can carry around your acid out in the open. On the main road – it may be a weapon but there are no laws about how to contain or carry it.

You can even carry it in a handy dandy mineral water bottle (like my plumber does).

If you have some acid left over  you can use it to unclog your pipes.

Yes, I realize acid has every day uses. But I do not understand why the sale of this deadly product cannot be limited.

Whether it is women throwing acid at men or vice versa this issue will continue to exist as long as this weapon is easily available in markets.

The argument that women are taking “ownership” of a weapon that has been used against them is completely fallacious. This weapon should be made illegal. Diluted acid should be available for all every day uses. If we can buy Tetra pack milk and juice surely we can start purchasing diluted commercial Draino-type products.

If  films like “Saving Face  are to make a real difference in our society than legislation must support them as well.



Naeem Asghar

Naeem Asghar

A sub-editor for The Express News who did his bachelors from Gujranwala.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.