By: Saleem Shahid
QUETTA: Masked men sprayed acid on four women who were busy in Eid shopping at a market on Sariab Road on Monday.
“Four armed men riding motorcycles came to the market where dozens of women were thronging shops. Two of the men hiding their faces with masks entered a jewellery shop and sprinkled acid on four women while using syringes,” SP Imran Qureshi said.
Rescuers took the injured women to the Bolan Medical College Hospital where they were admitted to the burns ward.
Dr Khuda Bukhsh of the ward told Dawn that the women had suffered minor burn wounds — two on the hands and two others on the face. Such wounds usually leave no scar, he added.
Relatives of the women told police they had no enmity with anyone.
“An investigation will determine whether personal enmity or religious fanatics are behind the attack,” the SP said. A police team has been constituted to probe the incident.
According to hospital sources, the victims have been identified as Safia Bibi, Zulaikha Bibi, Noor Jehan and Ayesha Bibi.
The Deputy Commissioner of Quetta, Abdul Lateef Kakar, said security had been beefed up at markets, bazaars and shopping plazas in the city.
The incident has sowed fear among residents of the city, particularly womenfolk.
This is the fourth incident of its kind in Balochistan. However, with the rise in pseudo-religious extremism, the traditions of the province are undergoing a change that many find shocking.
Last year, assailants had hurled acid on a group of women on Sariab Road of Quetta, the scene of the latest incident.
Several female teachers and students were meted out the same brutal treatment in Kalat two years ago.
Another horrific incident happened in Dalbandin where acid was thrown on a group of women coming to the town bazaar from a nearby village.
An unknown religious organisation had claimed responsibility and warned women against turning up at public places unaccompanied by male family relatives.
Police have so far failed to make arrest or even identify the attackers in any of the incident.