Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Pakistan acid attacks on women creating fear

31 July 2014, 18:10

Quetta - A recent spate of acid attacks in a region of Pakistan previously untouched by the crime has sparked an impassioned debate about rising ‘Islamisation’ that is forcing an increasing number of women to stay at home.

The horrific crime, which disfigures and often blinds its overwhelmingly female victims, has long been used to settle personal or family scores with hundreds of cases reported every year.

But two fresh attacks on consecutive days in the restive southwestern Baluchistan province last week, where until a few years ago such assaults were unheard of, suggests a new pattern is emerging.

Last Tuesday, two men on a motorcycle sprayed acid using syringes on two teenage girls who were returning from a market in Mastung town, 40km from the provincial capital Quetta.

The day before, four women aged between 18 and 50 had suffered the same fate in Quetta, in the market area of Sariab. They were partially burned.

Inhumane acts

"In accordance with our Baluch traditions, they were wrapped in big shawls as well as covering their faces. That saved [them] from severe injuries", said Naz Bibi, mother of two of the victims.

Asked about the attackers, she said: "I can only request that they should not treat women in such a cruel way."

In most acid attack cases around Pakistan, the majority of victims know their attackers. When caught, relatives found guilty speak of punishing their victims for having sullied their "honour" or that of their family with "indecent" behaviour.

But, in these latest cases, the victims had no known connection to their assailants, which has led campaigners to suggest the attacks are part of rising religious extremism in the province.

Vast and sparsely-populated but rich in resources, Baluchistan has long been racked by a separatist insurgency that has staunch leftist secular elements, including strong participation by women and which reveres Communist icons like Argentine revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara.

Separatists say the attacks on women are the latest battlefront in an ideological war between the rebels, who are fighting for a greater share of the region's mineral and gas wealth, and state-backed Islamist proxies who want to terrorise the population into acquiescence.

"The aim of these inhuman acts is to prevent women from participating in education, as well as social, political and economic aspects of life by creating a climate of terror", said Jahanzaib Jamaldini, vice president of the Baluch National Party, which is fighting for greater autonomy.

This week, three more women suffered injuries to their legs and feet in yet another attack, though police and senior officials have so far said the latest incident was a case of a "family feud".

Mohammad Munzoor, a brother of one of the victims, lamented that the attackers were still at large.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
EACC officers raid Deputy Governo...

EACC officers raided the home of a Deputy Governor as theft case continues in court. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
New IEBC bosses to be named Novem...

New IEBC bosses will be named on November 30. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
DP Ruto has spoilt my name, activ...

DP William Ruto has spoilt my name, activist complains. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Quit if you can't fight corruptio...

An MP has told President Uhuru Kenyatta to quit office if he cannot fight corruption. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Investigate Uhuru, Ruto for corru...

Investigate President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto's offices over corruption, CORD leader Raila Odinga has said. Read more...