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.

  • alicia

    Very true. I completely agree with your view.
    Acids should be made illegal to sell to normal household customers and they should only get diluted acids. This way crime can be stopped before it has occured.
    Sadly in Pakistan the government will never pay attention to this issueRecommend

  • Truth Exposed

    This problem can be solved if we implement already existing laws. We don’t need new legislation. All we need is implementation.Recommend

  • Ameer

    Must say this, I had the same reaction when I read abt it.Recommend

  • atif akbar

    Such kind of incident are increasing day by day in Pakistan.Most of the victims are girls.Acid being highly concentrated totally destroys the girls face.The girl cannot marry any other boy.This is what a boys want after getting rejected by the girl.Same case might have happened here with Nabeela.
    Everyone has his own view point .In my view she did a descent job.This is what these kind of boys deserve.May be they deserve more punishment .Recommend

  • tamoor

    i think saving face 2 story is started now.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Two wrongs do not make a right.
    When you have a government in place that gives a damn as far as the welfare of the people is concerned, criminal acts such as these will happen. Recommend


    very nice naeem sab Recommend


    very nice Recommend

  • Asif kiyani

    Well said, every kind of crime should be highlighted, for the sake of betterment in society. And cheaters deserve this kind of results.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Nice blog…. it was almost funny too…. like how your plumber carries Acid in a mineral bottle… really nice… but does anyone know what became of the boy… is his face also severely disfigured? Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Yes… boys really ruin the lives of girls… they trap them with sweet talks and promises and then play with them and leave them out in the cold… Im glad she did it… More girls need to do this… what do boys think they can play with lives????Recommend

  • Raza

    Very true. Acid sale needs to be highly regulated; it has destroyed too many lives. SOC’s documentary will hopefully make someone take notice. And people praising this act in the section above are sick.Recommend

  • Soko

    Is banning Acid really the solution?

    Even if we ban acid, the people will start using something else as a weapon.Wouldn’t if be better to educate the people?Recommend

  • irfan sadozai

    Its sad to know this story. I partially agree with your point of view. Actually its not an issue of making laws and its execution on selling and buying of acid. its the reflection of our tribal thought in which a loser has to take revenge after failure. we need to change this mind set. I would blame two sectors, one pubjabi film industry for encouring this culture in movies and other one are NGOs which are not doing enough to minimize such acts as they are getting huge funds. Recommend

  • Waqar Ahmed Wani

    hmm!! thought provoking!Recommend

  • yusufzai

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    Why girls act so innocent? They know what they are doing and then blame boys? Yes there are some boys who may do such but girls are not that dumb really? You are glad that she did it but should we not be happy when a boy does it with a …………… type girl? Recommend

  • Maria Batool

    Who said that a man who through acid on woman face always runs from thin streets….1st it is unique case of Pakistan and also I think girl can’t go away from her home…a criminal who can do same thing with woman can think before how to escape.

    Also Madam Nabeela has not done any good work which we have to appreciate it. So how an “INNOCENT” & “GOOD CHARACTER” girl can do same things.Islam did not allow boy & girl friendship.

    If Boy did same with Girl than Girl was nothing can do except crying on street but if Miss Nabeela got free from jail what the guy & his friend can do with her is a point of thinking.
    I have read an Owsome article on “Humari NEWS” as titile “Acid thrown by girl on guy’s face is not a funny story” I can say its thought provoking article by author.Recommend

  • MarkH

    I assure you, they’re all more than educated enough. They want to disfigure the person. They know acid will do it. They then apply that acid to the person and they become disfigured. Attacks aren’t a matter of education. They’re animal aspects of humans. They’re not consulting the areas of the brain you’d be educating. In fact, people who do things like that, if they never thought about using acid will probably use it after they’ve been educated about it.

    Freedom is a product of a society maturing passed their primal aspects. Not even attempting an insult, Pakistan is the picture perfect example of a society that hasn’t learned/evolved to do that.Recommend

  • alina

    @ atif akbar and @Ayesha Pervez

    which world do you honestly live in? does that mean if some one leaves you in the middle of a relationship, you throw acid on them? what kind of justification is that? that’s an outrage and utterly digusting! So your saying if a guy/ girl was in a relationship and they broke up, acid is what they deserve? why would you date in the first place if you felt so insecure about the relationship. Recommend

  • kie

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    how can you be so sure that always boys r ruining lives ? , their are some insane girls who chase guys and stalk them , even girls do the sweet talk , do promises but when they find much wealthier man than the one they are preying , they dump him and move on to rich sugar daddy !. Acid throwing is a sick act and it should be condemned instead of being so glad about it.Recommend

  • adnan

    This clearly unveils the other side of the picture, its not an issue of gender equality, yes in our society women are opressed but this incident alarms everyone high time. Just imagine the availabality of highly toxic material is so easy that even an 18year old girl can purchase it for this harmful purpose and no one really restricts her. The solution is simple ‘just ban common the toxic harmful liquids and acids in the local markets’ must be diluted to the level that it can not damage the humans.Recommend

  • sohail chaudhry

    you have discussed one the most important issues….It’s thought provoking…and it’s very strange trend that has taken place..we need to educate people as well…Recommend

  • Javeria Mahmood

    @Ayesha Pervez:

    are you really happy? what if the victim was you? hun?Recommend

  • kfc_ka_chicken

    You guys went into a tirade against women from one acid attack!? I mean that is really dense..I mean acid attacks in general are rare as compared to suicide attacks or attacks by jealous girl friends as per our interior minister.. and women acid attacks are rarer.

    The trouble with our country is that everyone is a freaking sensationalist commentator! Next time a kid throws acid on a parent.. wait till you hear that on every news bulletin as if its an every day occurrence.Recommend

  • zaigham naqvi

    well said !
    its point of thinking as govt making laws about women but men are awaiting to avoid such tragic incidendts.

  • Syeda

    true.. concentrated acids should banned in markets..
    only 10% acids ( very diluted) should be available for daily use..Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    @Javeria: What if the victim was me? I dont go around playing with peoples hearts! I truly feel for the women whose faces and lives have been destroyed by men…. it breaks my heart to hear about them… therefore I do wish men should know what its like to be on the receiving end of the stick. Thats all. I am not in favour of this horrifying act. Recommend

  • Sunny

    Well written piece. The author sheds light onto the issue with complete balance. Good job ET.Recommend

  • http://Nay Anwer Abbas

    It was nicely written blog that highlights the lack of tolerance in out society! the violent behaviors that are getting serious in general public as well as the hold of government on the things which could prove damaging and instructive towards others. Who ever throws acid to any one is condemnable regardless of the gender as that also reflects the lack of trust by the people towards the institutions enforcing law. Still a nice effort it was to crease a sense of responsibility by reporting such incidents !! Recommend

  • Rishabh Jain

    ‘An eye for an eye …
    makes the whole world blind.’

    Mahatma Gandhi
    Enjoy your freedom … responsibly. Recommend

  • Amna

    We written and thought provoking, we should try to change the mind set of people. Crime can not be abolished from society till then the persons do not change their minds. Any kind of crime can be eradicate from the society when people think that crime an evil. We should try to aware people to let the people live to their own wills. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    “Yes… boys really ruin the lives of girls… they trap them with sweet talks and promises and then play with them and leave them out in the cold… Im glad she did it… More girls need to do this… what do boys think they can play with lives????” It is important for girls to involve their families before they get into a serious dating relationship. A girl should not play before she is married. This girl in question seems to have uncontrollable anger problem. May be because of this anger problem her b/f did not want to marry her. Whatever happend in the relationship was with mutual consent. I don’t think throwing acid is a good solution for the problem. You say ” boys… trap girls with sweet talk and then play with them”. If giirls know this why they let boys play with themRecommend

  • musafer

    well written, and good thinking. We should think seriously about this mean practice.Recommend

  • Qaiser Choudary

    Great Choudry sab…keep it up….Recommend

  • Awais

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    What? All boys? I’ve never played with my girlfriend’s heart and I seriously don’t think other guys should sweet talk girls to get what they want and then mess them up. Recommend

  • Awais

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    About your reply to Javeria Mahmood’s comment, right now a man knows what its like to be on the receiving end of the stick (an acid attack) your wish has been granted. It also fills me with rage and disgust whenever I hear about such things where a woman’s life has been destroyed by a man. “Im glad she did it…” So you’re not in favour of this attack but you’re glad it was carried out? Recommend

  • Vikram

    Nothing wrong with girls FIGHTING BACK when someones life is in danger. –
    A teenage Muslim girl killed a top militant with his own gun after her home was attacked in Indian-administered Kashmir. …She had never touched a rifle before this , let alone fired one – but I she had seen heroes firing in films …
    You can check the story on the Internet.Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    Agreed this guy was a douche but come on, throwing acid because he broke up with you?? Girls should be smarter than to fall for sweet talk and promises, anyone can do that, one should have enough self esteem, confidence and smarts not to fall for words alone. Pinning your happiness on another person is a far too common mistake, but I suppose that’s expecting too much from people as young as the two involved in the incident.
    Back to the point, while I had the same exact initial reaction as the author did, it was followed by the same guilt the author felt as well. This is not empowering women, it’s just making a more violent society; I also agree the sale of such potent acid should be stemmed, at least as a starting point. Recommend

  • Nobody

    A girl shouldn’t be playing before she’s married, but it’s okay if a guy does, right? Kindly take your misogyny elsewhere, thank you. Cheers. Recommend

  • Qamar

    In my views the article has exposed the fact that we are not law abiding citizens. Laws were always there, but no one bother to implement them. Need of the hour is to change this mental approach. Mr. Naeem you have good approach that the thing ACID used as weapon can easily bought from any general store in the form of washroom cleaner, but at the same time it is deadly for human body because as it touches human skin it penetrate and burn your veins, But do some thing. Recommend

  • Awais’ Girl Friend

    Don’t lie in public forum.Recommend

  • Mehboob

    Every action has its reaction, this case is also a reaction of a betrayl…..But fact is fact that two wrongs can not make one right, so element of patience should be arise in the society.Recommend

  • President RIUJ

    Well man, thats true that many women are living a ruthless life, proper ligislation should be adopted. Civil society should also play its role to create awareness in society. Nicely written yar, Naeem sb, keep it up.Recommend

  • Awais

    @Awais’ Girl Friend:
    Thank for the advice ;)Recommend

  • Ziber

    talking of Acid sales purchase malfunction in a country where pistols could be bought like candies…CrapRecommend

  • Waleed

    Wow, Nabila is 18 years old & she has a Boyfriend Committed 2 Years Back when she was 16. Oh my GOD! forgetting it that we are in islamic state, a 16 year old kid, hardly a matriculate having relations regarding girlfriend boyfriend. Guys now we are actually going to be a modernized (Over-Developed) Country. Dams it! Recommend

  • Vikram

    “A girl shouldn’t be playing before she’s married, but it’s okay if a guy does, right?” “Somebody” added “but it is OK for a guy to do it”, I did not say that.I think lovers should decide the limits of intimacy during dating to avoid misunderstandings.. There are more chances of a relationship turning into a marriage if playing can be a part of honoymoon. What you said about guys is unfortunately culturally acceptable in Asian and middle eastern countries?Recommend

  • waqas

    clear everything at the begining boys; though i have cleared everything at the start but my girl still think i betrays her ”( but it saved us from anything that sour.Recommend

  • maryam

    acid shouldnot be freely available like anything thats puts others life in danger.when will we learn these things?Recommend

  • Naeem

    Another ill-fated victim of sick mindedness passes away last night.Fakhira khar, ex daughter-in-law of former Governer Punjab Ghulam Mustafa khar tried hard to get back in life, but the no one came to help her or raise her voice. But now every one is scoring political points after her death. what a mess……….?Recommend

  • Furqan

    Implementation of Rules is the main problem in our country. Problems lie in our minds, in our way of thinking. We should change this set of mind.Recommend

  • I hate men

    I read this story early today… am still traumatized… men are so evil I dont know how come they are superior to women… they have such big egos… they can cause women all the harm but it a woman dares break their ego they will destroy her life to the extent she cannot have a sane existence like Fakhra Yunis…. what a shame… I hate men I hate men… why Allah did u give men so much power that they abuse it like this??????Recommend

  • Muhammad Arfan

    The actual problem is that we become so materialistic and see everything with these glasses, where as i we follow Quran & Sunnah there is solution for these things. But we are so arrogant about Allah and his saying we dont want to listen that unless it is not approved by west. for husband and wife if you dont like each other, simply get separated, but we have to look our society where corruption is on its peak that we contaminate the food that Allah provide us in its purist form, we sell our vote corrupts elects corrupts, To being honest is a curse in our societ, we are harvesting what ever we cultivated. Recommend

  • Naeem

    @I hate men: hate to men is not the remedy of any evil ma’m, we should hate the evil, and try to aware society, we should try to change the menatlity. And after all, five fingers are not equalRecommend

  • Vikram

    @I hate men: “I read this story early today… am still traumatized… men are so evil I dont know how come they are superior to women… they have such big egos” Not all men are same. I was shocked to read the story too. It is a shame that powerful men can still get away with murder. Public needs to unite and make sure that men like Khar get punished by law. Media can play an important role in keeping the issue alive till culprits are punished. Recommend

  • Mian Sarfraz Ahmad

    its a great piece of writing wich deserves to be praised and thought provokingRecommend