Lost and Found
By Leena Nishtar

August 18, 2010

25 year old Rukhsana Yasir belongs to a village the district of Muzaffargarh, located in the south of Punjab. She grew up in Basti Allah Baksh prior to her marriage after which she moved to the village of Bet Mir Hazar. Rukhsana is now the mother of 2 children, Amara and Talha.

A short while after residing in her marital household, Rukhsana discovered that her sister in law was indulging in an illicit relationship. In order to protect the family’s name, Rukhsana interfered in the matter. This greatly enraged the sister in law. What aggravated the situation was Rukhsana’s father in law’s decision to give Rukhsana two rooms in the house whereas everyone else only had one. As a result, Rukhsana’s sister in laws anger was further elated to the point of jealously. Rukhsana’s mother in law also began to envy her as a result of this decision. In retaliation, they began emotionally as well as mentally torturing Rukhsana– the physical torture came later. They drugged Rukhsana’s three year old daughter maliciously, after which they burnt Rukhsana’s room as well as all her belongings. Rukhsana had adorned her room with great care; the fact that it was destroyed still grieves her. Rukhsana therefore left and moved to her sister place. She was however forced to come back just two days after her departure. Now came the physical torture. Rukhsana’s sister in law and mother in law with the consent of her husband decided to “teach her a lesson” and therefore burnt her with acid.

After several court proceedings Rukhsana was given sole custody of her two children and her husband was sentenced to prison. Following this episode, both of Rukhsana’s children fell extremely ill, one after the other. The cost of medicines, alongside the expenses incurred as a result of the court proceedings severely burdened Rukhsana’s family, especially her father, the sole breadwinner of a family of three brothers and nine sisters. Rukhsana was therefore forced to bail her husband out of prison for the sake of her own family especially her ailing children. Rukhsana was treated at Nishtar Medical Hospital after which she was advised to come to Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Pakistan for her treatment & rehabilitation.

Here, it seems as though Rukhsana’s life has been miraculously reformed. She has been inculcated with ambition and inspiration; she has once again found a purpose to life, one that she was convinced she had previously lost. She wishes not only to learn how to stitch and sew but also to educate herself with regard to Basic English. Rukhsana’s decision to settle for a compromise was an unfortunate result of her poor family background and also owed to the fact that she was not educated. After spending time at ASF she now realizes that a compromise was not her only choice, she says, “If I had previously learnt of the Acid Survivors Foundation of Pakistan, I would not have gone back to my husband and his family.” This not only highlights the valuable work ASF provides the social sector of Pakistan with but also highlights the importance of education with regard to women, an area ASF strives to enhance.


Source: Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), Pakistan.


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