Manzoora Mai, mother of the acid attack victim Nagina Bibi, is worried about the future of her other five daughters who are also facing domestic violence at the hands of their in-laws.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Mai, resident of Multan, said her husband passed away two years ago and since then she feels her daughters are insecure. She has only one son who is a married labourer and the sole bread earner of the family.
“When we got the news that Nagina’s husband had thrown acid on her, it seemed like the world had come to an end,” she said. It was too difficult for the family to reach Islamabad from Multan after hearing the devastating news.
“We came to know about this at 1pm. We did not understand what to do and wanted to reach Islamabad within the blink of an eye, which ofcourse was impossible,” she recalled.
Mai and her son went to the bus stand but missed the first bus. “We got the next bus around 10pm and remained hungry and thirsty throughout the day,” she said. They reached Islamabad early morning the next day.
The family never expected such a terrifying end to a love marriage. Sharing some details, Mai said Mohammad Irfan, who belonged to Faisalabad, used to live in the same street as Nagina in Islamabad. Nagina divorced her first husband to whom she was married for fifteen years and had three children with.
Her first husband used to beat her everyday. Bruised and fed up, she came to Shehzad Town with her children after divorcing him.
She began working as a domestic helper to earn money and soon fell in love with Irfan, who was living in the same street with his brother and sister-in-law. When Nagina told the family that she wanted to marry him, they opposed her. So, she married him against their will.
From the very first day after getting married, Irfan started beating her without reason. “We were well aware of the brutalities Nagina was facing. Several times I tried to settle the issue but failed,” said Mai.
Irfan turned out to be a thief and a drug addict. He wanted his wife to earn money and give it to him.
However, when Nagina became tired of the beating and learnt about his habits, she asked for a divorce which he refused to give.
About two months ago, Nagina left him and moved to the residence of a retired banker in Shahzad Town, where she was working as a maid. She later filed for a divorce at the family court. When Irfan came to know about this, he threatened to take her life.
On May 19, as Nagina was on her way to another house to work, he intercepted her and threw acid on her face. According to doctors, 70 per cent of her body was damaged and she is in critical condition.
“I want justice, I want the police to arrest Irfan as soon as possible and punish him in such a way that no one in the world ever thinks of doing this again,” cried Nagina’s mother.
Rehman Malik intervenes
Minister of Interior Rehman Malik took serious notice of the acid attack. He directed the Inspector General of Police to arrest the accused and depute a senior lady police officer to record the statement of the victim and submit a report at the earliest. He also called for strict action against her husband and provision of medical facilities to the victim.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2011.