Stories about acid attacks

Does judicial bias really favour women who cover themselves?

The tendency to judge others is a widely prevalent phenomenon in humans. Unfortunately, judicial bias may have significant consequences for the alleged perpetrator, especially in sexual assault cases. After all, neutrality and impartiality are of utmost importance in such cases in order to ensure a fair trial. The Supreme Court of Pakistan defined bias in Asif Ali Zardari’s case, reported as Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLD) 2001 SC 568, as: “‘Bias’ has been held synonymous with ‘partiality’, and strictly to be distinguished from ‘prejudice’. Under particular circumstances, the word has been described as a condition of mind, and has been held to ...

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Even Karan Johar, who calls himself a ‘feminist’, doesn’t understand that ‘no means no’

Karan Johar is the king of love triangles; perhaps even ‘love squares’ at times. After all, most of the movies he has directed, including Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Student of the Year, have the same elements at play and this formula seems to work for Johar. However, it seems too much to expect his movies to also make sense, as very rarely do they possess an actual plot that doesn’t include a Rahul falling in love with an Anjali. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, his most recent directorial success, became known for many things but unfortunately, its story wasn’t one ...

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Sakina’s soul is calling for justice, but is Pakistan listening?

Would it be true to suggest that only the mighty can get justice in Pakistan, or just another misnomer? No matter what side of the argument you support, it is undeniable that this is a question of wide importance in a country such as ours. On September 13, 2018, a brutal crime was committed in the Chak 92 JB area of Gojra. A man called Safdar, with the help of an accomplice, threw acid on a sleeping family out of revenge. The ferocity of the attack did not stop at this; they viciously poured acid into Sakina Bibi’s mouth and ...

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Are acid attacks becoming a commonality in the UK because they are treated as a minor offence?

Picture the following domestic scene: A woman hovering over a tawwa (stove), folding dough balls whilst the gas flame flickers gently under the cast iron. Behind her, a shadowy figure, wanting no blame and careful to hide their presence, opens up the cylindrical lever on the gas supply. Barely an instant passes before the light hits her eyes; eyes which will never be able to see themselves in a reflection in quite the same way. This was the old way, my mother tells me. This punishment for women, for what was perceived to be a social crime (normally domestic), would result in a woman becoming ...

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Anti-honour killing and acid attacks bills: More laws to be buried in the graveyard of good intentions?

This past week, the Sindh Assembly passed two laws against honour killing and acid attacks. It is a commendable initiative and the first such act against honour killings in all four provinces and territories. The laws are adequately severe with stipulations such as no blood money is allowed to be granted, acid attacks are unbailable offences and suggesting that the capital offence may be given to those killing in the name of honour. Furthermore, they are reflective of a humanistic mind-set and the architects of it will have to do far more than merely draft it and push it through the red tape of senates and assemblies to receive accolades ...

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Do Pakistani female legislators actually represent women or merely serve as “proxies” for the wealthy and elite?

In the male dominated South Asian region, women are considered a marginalised faction of society. While describing South Asian women in politics, there are contradicting accounts. On one hand, there are examples of women like Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Hasina Wajid and Khaleda Zia as prime ministers, while on the other, the majority of women are seen as poor, illiterate and lacking political, social and economic opportunities. A general perception ascribed to women in South Asian politics is that they belong to higher social strata and certain political parties, which aides their journey into the mainstream political arenas. However, women in general still lack the opportunities to participate and represent in the ...

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The son of an MPA raped me: Will I not get justice?

Last Friday night, Sofia Shahid, a woman from Bhatti Colony in Rahim Yar Khan, filed a report with the Saddar Khanpur Police alleging that she had been raped by Qamar Khan Rind, the son of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) MPA Nawaz Khan Rind. Ms Shahid was interviewed by various local news channels while she was at the police station. She described how she was kidnapped from her house (along with her son) and raped by Qamar while his accomplices stood by. She also told reporters that the police were not cooperating with her and were yet to register her complaint. While this matter will hopefully ...

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We’re celebrating Pakistan’s Independence Day, but are we really independent?

On August 11, 1947, a newly-formed Pakistan held its first parliamentary session. The purpose was to draft a constitution. During this session, Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah famously reaffirmed the pluralistic values the new nation had been founding declaring: “You are free, you are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” This year will mark the nation’s 69th year ...

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Why should a woman be shamed for being on her period?

I’ve been watching a recent debate unfold: students at a local university in Pakistan stuck sanitary napkins on the university walls with poignant quotes. As a woman, I admired the bravado of these students. Mainly because ever since we were kids, we’re told that since we are the ‘weaker/fairer’ sex, we shouldn’t: “Wear too much make-up”, “Wear a dupatta this way” “Wear such high heels”, “Don’t talk so loudly’, Oh yeah, and, “When on your period, channel your inner Jane Bond.” Maybe the men don’t get the whole psyche that’s inbuilt women from the age their periods start. The society has some sort of a state of ...

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When the Pakistani media decided to exploit a painful tragedy like APS

It is difficult to imagine what it is like to be one of the parents of the 122 school kids brutally murdered during the Army Public School (APS) massacre in Peshawar. On the morning of December 16, 2014, these families said goodbye to their children as they left for school, and a few hours later, were shattered by the news that their loved one(s) had been mercilessly gunned down by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists. I know of parents broken after losing their child to a terminal disease, and eventually found solace. The slow torture of witnessing a brave beloved helplessly battle such an illness is ...

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