KARACHI: It seems that acid throwing, a crime which usually victimises women, is changing tides. In March three people were treated for acid burns at Civil hospital’s burns centre. All of them were men.
They are Noman Sheikh, Jan Prash and Mohammad Ubaid. The youngest,Ubaid, is 18 years old and the oldest, Noman is 25.
With a damaged eye, burn wounds on the face and chest, Noman Sheikh, moaned as he lay on the hospital bed. His lover, his wife, Sabra, had thrown acid on him.
“I wish I had pushed her over instead of saving her,” he says bitterly, his voice shaking, as tears roll down from his eyes. It looks like his broken heart hurts almost as much as his burning skin.
Sheikh was referring to his first encounter with Sabra, which was something out of a Bollywood movie. Sabra stood on the edge of the Native Jetty Bridge just about to end her life, when Sheikh pulled her back.
Sabra married her knight in shining armour. They lived happily for a while and also had a baby girl. But then the fairy tale turned sour.
According to Sheikh, his wife began giving him sleeping pills at night. He would sleep till late in the day as Sabra made long calls in the night. He figured out later, that she talked to her ex-husband. “On March 12, she locked me in the house, and took away my phone, wallet and cash from the house and ran away with my daughter.”
But Sabra apologised later and promised to return home. Sheikh forgave her. When Sabra came back on the night of March 30 she was followed by her former husband, Talib, her brother, Umer, and brother-in-law, Ubaid. “I asked my wife what was Talib doing there and she told me that he had followed her and persuaded me to bring him inside the house.”
When Sheikh opened the door Sabra whispered, “Forgive me, I forgot to give you something I got.” As soon Sheikh turned around she threw acid on him and ran away on one of the motorcycles. Sheikh says he quickly ran inside and washed his face but the damage was done. The doctors said that he suffered 22 per cent burns.
“I can’t understand why she did that. I saved her that day,” he exclaims. “I saved her from other activities by marrying her.” Sabra used to be a sex worker.
Now all Sheikh longs for is his daughter who is now around 19 months old. “I don’t care for Sabra. She may rot in jail or be executed. I just want my daughter back. I want my cell phone back which has videos of my baby’s first words. I want Alina. Please help me get her,” he pleaded.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2012.