Longing for old home, died in new


Pakistani Fakhra Younus, the victim of an acid attack by her husband, Bilal Khar, died in Rome last month. PHOTOS/Fakhra Younus family/The Daily Telegraph

like father like son
not always true
but in Khar’s case, very true
Bilal Khar fell in love with a sex-worker
brought her to the mansion
violently abused and mistreated her
Fakhra Younus suffered beyond limit
left her feudal lord
ego-maniac couldn’t tolerate
rushed to her place
ordered her to open her mouth
she refused
so she got an acid-disfigured face
her five-years old son witnessed it

after sometime
he brought her back
but without reforming himself
she contacted Tehmina Durrani
Bilal’s step mother
and victim of his father’s tyranny
(she had left Ghulam Mustafa Khar
and described the abuses in “My Feudal Lord”)

law is the last resort, literally
because it mostly never delivers
but then hope is like a sticky-glue
forcing humans to seek justice

powerless vs powerful
the unequal equation
so the outcome was obvious
the witnesses backed off
and the culprit was off the hook

Durrani fought against the system
and got Younus settled in Rome
Italians and their country took care
with financial and morale support

after 30 surgeries and many years
her face was somewhat restored
but not recognizable at all
she would go out for a walk
and people were nice to her

she was happy when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
got an Oscar for a documentary on acid victims
but it must have hurt her badly
she wasn’t even mentioned in the film

in Pakistan, one can only be so much fearless

Obaid-Chinoy was congratulated
by Hina Rabbani-Khar, Bilal’s cousin
she would have missed this recognition
if Younus was included in the film too

Younus adopted Italy as her new home
but longed for her old nest
depression dragged her towards suicide
her lifeless body found an abode in Pakistan

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

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