Rampant acid attacks against women in Pakistan

Hassan Jatt

Acid throwing was a significant issue in Pakistan. It had been one of the worst forms of violence against women in local society. Throwing acid is taken into account as worse than murder. However, unfortunately throwing acid is getting much more common in Pakistan.

Consistent with data collected by NGO the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), between 2007 and 2022 there have been 1,485 reported cases of acid attacks in Pakistan. of the entire 319 cases reported, 20(7%) were acid-related, and 13(65.0%) of them were males.

File Photo of the author

Family and property disputes were the main reasons behind assault in 11(55%) cases, revenge in 5(25%) and relationship break-up in 4(20.0%). a few third involved children splashed with acid when family members were attacked. Approximately 200+ acid attacks occur in Pakistan annually, and therefore the number of reported cases has increased since last year.

400 acid attacks annually in the country

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said there are more than 400 acid attack victims annually and the Smile Again Foundation said in a statement that “the crime is significantly underreported therefore official figures do not represent the reality on the ground.
In some parts of South Asia, acid attacks often occur as revenge against women who say no to marriage proposals or sexual advances. An acid attack is often used to ‘punish’ the woman if she refused to earn money for her husband and family. There are many cases of acid victims women are following.

Fakhra Younus was an acid victim

Fakhra Younus(1979 – 17 March 2012) was a Pakistani woman who was the victim of an acid attack, which severely injured her face. She underwent 39 surgeries during a 10-year period. She died by suicide at age 33. Yunus, a former prostitute, was 22 when acid was thrown on her — allegedly by her husband. Bilal Khar, a cousin of the foreign minister, maintains that he was not behind the attack, though some say he used his political influence to evade arrest, according to the Asian Correspondent.


Yunus’ attack became high-profile after she attracted the notice of Pakistani writer and activist TehminaDurrani, who wrote “My Feudal Lord,” a searing indictment of women’s role in Muslim society. Durrani helped Yunus move to Italy, where she received dozens of plastic surgeries and intensive counseling.

A law against acid crimes hardly comes into force

The effects of these acid attacks upon their lives have been destructive: apart from the physical trauma undergone (some are scarred and maimed for life, despite numerous surgical interventions), they also have to face psychological trauma as well as social isolation and ostracism from their community. A law against acid crimes will hardly act as a deterrent when perpetrators know that if they have enough resources and leverage they can shrug off any charge held against them, no matter the atrocity.
From the victims’ point of view, there is a high risk of denial of justice, and the numerous obstacles they can face in their pursuit of justice may act as a strong disincentive preventing them from reporting the attacks. Indeed, the status of women in Pakistan is subject on the one hand to pressures not to disgrace.

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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.