Ironic. While Pakistan stands proud securing its first Oscars on Chinoy’s‘Saving Face’, acid victim and soul-scarred Fakhra Younus loses her hopes of ever being redeemed of the brute infliction.
Fakhra’s suicide six years post acid-attack by her former husband, Bilal Khar, son of former Punjab governor and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Ghulam Mustafa Khar, manifests more than just a case of unsuccessful reconstructive surgery. It is reflective of an abject disappointment from a rigidly structured patriarchal society that shields the perpetrator and castigates the victim. It articulates the horror stories in a post-modern tribal space that seeks to snub its women by disfiguring her body and soul. It also reeks of the dilapidated law and justice system that stands hand-tied and virtually helpless in front of the power-saddles and feudal lords.
Point out one case out of the thousands lost in oblivion in which the wronged received justice, let alone indemnified. While Media and NGO’S come screaming for help and justice for these unfortunate women, they are not independent court of law, or the sole voice of the masses, who choose to sit silent swapping channels to pause for a few seconds to feel sorry for the poor victims, without ever really coming forward to raise a formal protest.
While the world goes applauding Shirmeen for the prestigious Oscars she has received, has anyone bothered looking at the message of the film? Or those who go on criticizing her left, right and center for presenting Pakistan in a dark and negative light, do they now dare come forward and deny it with a similar assertion that we are a society where violence against women is but a norm.
What about the emotional trauma the victim has to go through post such attacks? Is that even a concern in a society that allows the criminal to abscond miles away from the due punishment on a bail. Soul, emotions, loss? What fickle terms in a society that still has a long way learning its basic lessons in morals.
Today, I’m not very proud of the Oscars we received and would never be until Fakhra and others continue to give up hope or until some saviors rise from amongst us to save our women and help them have justice.