Four young female teachers that recently suffered an acid attack are determined to get back to their jobs as soon as possible, their principal told The Express Tribune.
Rubina Mushawani, 20, and her sister Sajida, Fazila, 21 and Surayya, 22, were ambushed by two masked men on a motorbike outside the coeducation primary Skilful Grammar School in Killi Alam, near Alamo Chowk on Airport Road, as they were travelling home after classes on Saturday.
Sajida escaped unhurt while Fazila and Surayya were discharged on Monday after treatment for minor burns. Rubina, however, is still in the plastic surgery and burn wounds department at Bolan Medical Complex.
Her family did not wish to talk to journalists, but her principal Abdul Ghani said she was in stable condition and was talking and walking. “She told me she wanted to come back as soon as possible,” Ghani told The Express Tribune, adding that her attitude was shared by her three colleagues.
“I had announced that the school would be closed for three days after the attack,” he said. “But all four have asked me to reopen immediately so they can get back to work.”
Rubina and Sajida are breadwinners for their family and are funding the educations of two younger brothers.
Ghani said this was the first such incident he had heard of in the Alamo Chowk area, which has large Pashtun and Baloch populations. He said that there was a girls school and a language centre in the area which had never been threatened or attacked. He doubted that the attackers had a religious motive. All four teachers are ethnically Baloch.
The police have detained for questioning the driver of the vehicle taking the teachers home, while Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai and nationalist parties have all condemned the incident and asked the police to ensure that the attackers are arrested, but the record in such cases leaves little hope for justice.
This is the third major acid attack in Balochistan in the last 15 months. Previously, three girls had been attacked with acid in Kalat, while two teenage sisters were attacked in Chagai district. There has been no progress in the investigation of these cases.
“Police are investigating and going all out to track down the criminals behind this heinous crime,” said local police officer Malik Arshad.
The National Commission on the Status of Women also condemned the attack on the teachers, saying it was just the latest example of how acid was used as a tool to suppress women.
“From time to time some mischievous elements opt for such horrendous acts to discourage women from public life,” the commission said in a statement.
It demanded that the Balochistan government, apart from catching the attackers, ensure the complete medical, psychological and economic rehabilitation of the victims. It urged female legislators to propose new laws on the issue and the Balochistan Assembly to pass a resolution condemning such attacks.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2011.
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