KARACHI: After bearing the pain of burns for two days, 18-year-old Noori Ishaque was taken to hospital for treatment. Noori was beaten and burnt by her two brothers-in-law on refusing to quit her job as a domestic servant. She has received nine per cent burns and is currently under treatment at the Burns Centre in Civil Hospital. According to Noori’s elder sister Zareena, Noori’s brothers-in-law, Majeed and Nooru, set her on fire in their residence at Abdullah Goth, Shah Latif Town, after a dispute occurred between them in the absence of Noori’s husband. Noori’s resistance to quit the job that she had joined a day before led the two to set her on fire.
Noori’s husband, Ishaque, is a labourer and is unable to save much from his earnings. Zareena disclosed that Noori and her husband had been yearning to save some money to construct a small room in their house shared by other family members, too. “Noori has been married for a year and there have been family disputes over the issue since the very first day of her marriage. They constantly taunted my sister and her husband for not having enough money to construct a room,” said Zareena who is also her attendant at the hospital. Zareena added that Noori and Ishaque had reached a mutual decision that her brothers-in-law had no right to interfere. “There was no way we could expect an increment in my husband’s salary so we instead decided that I should work and contribute to his income so we could at least have a room of our own,” said Noori.
However, when Noori’s husband returned home from work that evening and found her in this condition, he insisted that she be shifted to the hospital but his mother-in-law prevented him from doing so, saying that the burn scars were not severe and could be treated at home. It was Zareena, who also lives in Noori’s neighbourhood, who rescued her with the help of her brother. “We brought her to the hospital on January 7. Her husband accompanied us but has not returned to visit her after that,” adds Zareena. Defending her husband, Noori said that he is perhaps not visiting due to the pressure he might be facing from his family.
On the other hand, she fears that her husband would divorce her if she gives further statements to the police. “An FIR against Majeed and Nooru has been registered in Shah Latif Police Station but they have not been arrested and continue to roam around freely in the neighbourhood,” said Zareena.
“A majority of the burns victims we admit belong to poor families and because they cannot afford to hire lawyers and proceed with the case, they avoid involving the police and usually change their statements. It is unfortunate that this stops them from disclosing the real story,” says Dabir-ur-Rehman, Executive Director of the Burns Centre. Dr Abdul Sami, who is treating Noori, said that she had received nine per cent burns wounds, which are treatable through plastic surgery. He however added that most of the female patients the hospital receives, who are a target of domestic violence, usually suffer over 90 percent wounds that at times become difficult to treat. “The cause of burns can vary from suicidal to homicidal to accidental. Most of the burns cases are usually accidental,” he adds.
Source: The News