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‘Cold comfort’ for acid attack victim

‘Cold comfort’ for acid attack victim

LAHORE: Police claimed on Saturday to have arrested a man in Bhakkar who allegedly inflicted life-threatening scars on a girl by throwing acid on her in Lahore’s DHA a few days ago.

Police disclosed that the suspect had been taken into custody within 48 hours from the outhouse of a politician in Bhakkar.

The horrific acid attack on Sept 12 deprived the girl, who worked at a pharmacy in DHA, of vision in both eyes. The Defence A police registered a case against Asmatullah under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

According to the initial investigation by the Cantonment Division police, Asmatullah threw acid on the face of the girl to exact revenge for turning down his proposal. Police said the suspect fled to his hometown in Bhakkar where he took refuge at the outhouse of a politician.

A Lahore police team after engaging the politician and the district police officer of Bhakkar in a dialogue managed to get custody of the suspect.

“We formed three teams of the investigation wing and sent them to arrest the suspect on information that he had fled to his native town,” Cantonment Division Investigation SP Dr Anoosh Masood told Dawn. She said police used resources to trace him through his mobile phone location and Asmatullah tried to mislead them by changing SIMs but officials pursued him by getting access to his locations through IEMI number.

On the basis of the mobile record information, she said, the police teams carried out raids in Layyah and Muzaffargarh but eventually arrested him in Bhakkar.

TREATMENT: The 24-year-old girl is fighting for her life at Jinnah Hospital’s Burns Centre. Her medical history and diagnosis report shows that her face has been disfigured and she is losing vision in both eyes.

Prof Moazzam Nazir Tarrar told Dawn that the entire face of the patient came under attack, leaving her disfigured. “She has full thickness burns of almost 20pc TBSA (total burn surface area) involving full face with itching, watering of the eyes along with decreasing and blurred vision,” Dr Tarrar said.

He said ophthalmology examination revealed serious corneal burns/damages, taking her towards loss of vision. “There are remote chances of regaining vision after a surgery,” he said. Besides, the doctor said, “she has deep patches on neck, chest, back, right flank and right thigh.”

He said the patient was in a state of shock ever since she came to know that her damaged face and loss of vision would haunt her.

ALARMING SITUATION: According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, the acid violence against women in Pakistan is alarmingly increasing, particularly in southern part of Punjab. It says 450 gender-based acid violence incidents occur in the country every year and a majority of the cases remain untraced.

Acid violence in Pakistan also came to the global limelight after filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary ‘Saving Face’ received an Oscar award in 2012.

DAWN

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