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‘Oscar for Saving Face made me elated’

MUZAFFARGARH – “It really hurt me, if I hear about the acid-throwing incident happen anywhere in the world. So, the win of an Oscar by ‘Saving Face’, truly made my happy, says 26-year-old Rukhsana Yasir, the pivotal character of Academy award-winning documentary, while talking to TheNation en route to Islamabad from Jatoi, Muzaffargarh the other day.

Speaking in Saraeki language, she showed satisfaction that now there is a law against acid throwers in Pakistan and this case now can be tried in Anti-Terrorism Court and the accused can be sentenced life-term imprisonment plus fine of Rs1 million. Rukhsana said that even strict law could not stop such heinous crime unless the end of ignorance, illiteracy, intolerance and hatred from the society. She informed TheNation that eight acid-throwing cases were happened after the approval of new law and total reported case had soared to 705.

Responding about her performance in documentary, She said that she was not agree to take this bold step of appearing before the camera but Acid Survivors Foundation’s volunteer Mureed Abbad convinced her to do so.

The former victim of acid throwing said although she had pardoned her husband and mother-in-law (who had thrown acid on her) and got them released yet the sword of divorce is still hanging on her. She maintained that she opted the way of reconciliation for the future of her three children little children.

Rukhsana Yasir belongs to a village of District Muzaffargarh in the neighbourhood of Meerawala’s Mukhtar Mai. She grew up in Basti Allah Baksh prior to her marriage after which she moved to the village of Bet Mir Hazar. Soonafter her marriage at the age of 18, Rukhsana discovered that her sister-in-law had developed an illicit relationship with a youth of the area. In order to protect the family’s name, Rukhsana interfered in the matter, which enraged her sister-in-law.

Meanwhile, Rukhsana’s father-in-law decided to give her two rooms to live in the house whereas everyone had only one. As a result, her sister-in-laws along with her mother aggravated and started teasing and physically torturing Rukhsana.

One day, they drugged Rukhsana’s three-year-old daughter maliciously, after which they burnt Rukhsana’s room as well as all her belongings. Rukhsana’s sister-in-law along with her mother and with the consent of her husband burnt her with acid.

After several court proceedings, Rukhsana was given custody of her two children and her husband was sentenced to prison. Rukhsana was therefore forced to bail her husband out of prison for the sake of her own family especially for her ailing children. Rukhsana was treated at Nishtar Medical Hospital after which she was advised to come to Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Pakistan for her further treatment. Rukhsana’s decision to settle for a compromise was an unfortunate result of her poor family background and also due to the fact that she was not educated. This is not only highlights the valuable work of ASF but also highlights the importance of education of women.

The Nation