Twenty-two-year-old Ameena, an acid burns victim, regrets marrying her husband Mohammad Ali, alias Danish, who splashed acid on her face after allegedly suspecting that she had illicit relations with another man. The severe burn injuries have not only disfigured her face, but also damaged both her eyes, compelling her to hide her face behind a veil as her daughters, aged seven and two-and-a-half, are frightened by the sight of their mother’s disfigured face.
Her husband has been temporarily detained by the police, but Ameena fears he may return and attack her two daughters if the concerned authorities let him go scot-free. She has also filed a suit against her husband for dissolution of her marriage, but because Danish possesses her NIC and the couple’s marriage certificate, Ameena fears she may not be able to do so.
According to Ameena, who was addressing a press conference at Madadgaar Helpline’s office on Monday, Danish and his sisters (who also live in their neighbourhood in Federal B-area) attacked her on the afternoon of January 31, 2008 - which was a few days after they learnt that Ameena was expecting her third child that Danish claimed was not his.
“He did not even wait for the third child’s delivery so my daughter could prove that his suspicion was wrong and instead tortured Ameena in order to force her to ‘confess’ that the unborn child is not his. When she started weeping and did not answer, he became aggressive and threw concentrated acid on her face and fled,” wept Kaneez Fatima, who accompanied her daughter at the conference because Ameena was unable to speak.
Ameena cried for help but no one came to rescue her. However, she managed to walk to her mother’s house, who is also Ameena’s next door neighbour. “My daughter fainted at my doorstep following which we rushed her to Civil Hospital’s Burns Ward but by the time we reached, Ameena’s eyes were damaged, as the concentrated acid leaked into her eyes,” said the distressed mother.
Ameena alleged that her husband, who is a balloon-seller, frequently abused her physically and due to the restrictions placed by him, she barely stepped out and his allegations of illicit relations with his friends were baseless. “He is a drug addict and frequently asked me for money. On refusal to do so, he would torture me. I tried complaining about his behaviour to his sisters and family members but they ignored me and said I should get used to his behaviour,” said the mother of two daughters, aged five and two-and-a-half years old.
An FIR (11/08) has been lodged at the Joharabad Police Station, but the police officials are protecting Danish, taking the plea that he is mentally sick, alleged Advocate Zia Awan, who is also providing legal aid to Ameena. “In a majority of the cases, husbands escape punishment by showing themselves to be ‘psychologically ill’ with the help of the police, which is why an increasing number of burns cases are being reported,” he said.
However, the Station Investigation Officer (SIO), Sajid Javed, said Danish’s fate has not been decided yet as investigation is under way. “An interim challan report has been filed in the city court,” he said. Ameena’s case will be heard in the city court on Wednesday, Awan further said.
It may be noted here that the offence of permanent impairing of any organ of the body of another person (by his spouse or any of his blood relations within the prohibited degree of marriage) is defined under Section 299 of Pakistan Penal Code, known as “Ikrah-e-tam”, whereby the offender is liable to imprisonment for a period of ten years. “Since we do not have a law against domestic violence as yet, Danish should be immediately tried under the PPC,” demanded Awan.
However, Ameena says imprisonment would not be enough to ‘teach him a lesson’. “My husband should be hanged to death, so that other men like him do not take advantage of a woman’s vulnerability,” she wept. Ameena’s mother and Advocate Awan also appealed for financial support from the government’s Zakat funds and Bait-ul-Mal so Ameena’s family can be rescued from the financial straits.
By: Aroosa Masroor
4 March 2008
Source: The News