Pakistani acid attack victim Fakhra Younus committed suicide earlier this month, jumping out of a sixth floor window of a building in Rome. Younus, whose face was severely disfigured from the attack, received dozens surgeries in last decade. Her ex-husband, Bilal Khar, allegedly committed the crime. The AP described Khar as “an ex-lawmaker and son of a political powerhouse.”
The Global Post describes the circumstances of the attack:
In 1998, Younus was an 18-year-old working in Karachi’s red light district when she met Bilal Khar, the son of politically powerful Ghulam Mustafa Khar. The two married after six months, the Express Tribune reported. But Khar was verbally and physically abusive. Younus eventually left him.
Younus claimed that she was sleeping at her mother’s house in May 2000 when Khar entered and poured acid on her. Her 5-year-old son from a different man witnessed the attack as well, the Associated Press reported.
Pakistani writer and activist Tehmina Durrani wrote that Younus’ attack was the worst she’d ever seen: “I have met many acid victims. Never have I seen one as completely disfigured as Fakhra. She had not just become faceless; her body had also melted to the bone.”
Khar was acquitted in the crime. The AP reports that “many believe he used his connections to escape the law’s grip — a common occurrence in Pakistan.”
In her suicide note, Younus said she was taking her own life because of the silence of law on the atrocities and the insensitivity of Pakistani rulers.
“The saddest part is that she realized that the system in Pakistan was never going to provide her with relief or remedy,” Nayyar Shabana Kiyani, an activist at The Aurat Foundation, told the AP. “She was totally disappointed that there was no justice available to her.”
In an interview after Younus’s death, Khar again denied that he was responsible for the acid attack, saying that a man with the same name committed the crime. And he criticized the media for bringing up the matter. “You people should be a little considerate,” said Khar. “I have three daughters and when they go to school people tease them.”