By Tariq Ismaeel
“My grand daughters are frightened of their mother. They say she looks like a monster,” says Jannat Bibi, 55. She says her daughter, Myra,* was attacked with acid by her husband two months ago.
“She had been married eight years ago,” Bibi says. She says the couple had four daughters and had lived in Norangabad.
She says he told Myra that he wanted to marry a second time because she had failed to give him sons. She says he later began courting a woman in the neighbourhood.
“Six months ago, he told her he planned to marry the neighbour,” Bibi says. She said the couple quarrelled about this many times.
She says in June, they had had another one of these arguments and Myra had left the room in anger.
She says when she returned, he threw acid on her and fled.
Myra was taken to DG Khan DHQ Hospital with 50 per cent burns.
Bibi says Myra was brought home from the hospital two weeks ago. “She does not let her daughters see her like this. When they do see her by accident, they are scared,” she said.
She says doctors had advised the family to take her to Nishtar Hospital in Multan because there was no burn unit in DG Khan for acid attack victims.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Myra says she still suffers from pain. “I feel like my body has been disfigured beyond repair,” she says.
She says her husband had fled after attacking her. “He destroyed me and ran away,” she said. “He should not be allowed to get away with it. Police should arrest him and punish him.”
Talking to The Express Tribune, the Gaddai SHO says the case is being investigated by a district board. He says the suspect is believed to have fled to a Tribal Area to evade arrest.
Former head of Nishtar Medical Hospital Burn Unit and Plastic Surgery Dr Pervaz Haider Altaf says acid attack patients brought to DHQ Hospitals were often offered limited treatment because of unavailability of facilities.
“The depth of the victim’s burns should be assessed before a treatment plan is prepared,” he says.
He says the woman could get better treatment in Multan if she went there. He says for poor families, treatment at private hospitals completely beyond their reach in terms of expenses.
“There are no NGOs working for rehabilitation of acid attack victims in this area,” says Social Welfare Officer Hafiz Muhammad Akram.
He said a campaign on options and rights of acid attack survivors was desperately needed.
“Pakistan Baitul Maal sponsors treatment of survivors,” he says. “However, most affected families are unaware about these options.”
He says Myra’s family had not approached the Social Welfare Department for help, probably because they were not aware of its role. “Their application can be processed in a day,” he said.
*NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT IDENTITIES