Pakistan acid attack parents speak of remorse

November 6, 2012 10:10 am


A ten-year-old acid victim (name withheld) plays with her toys at a rehabilitation center of the Acid Survivors Foundation in Islamabad/AFP
KHOI RATTA, Pakistan, Nov 6 – A Pakistani couple who killed their teenage daughter by dousing her in acid spoke on Tuesday of their sadness and regret at the attack which they said they carried out to protect family “honour”.

The parents poured acid over 15-year-old Anusha at their home last Monday after seeing her looking at boys. The girl died two days later after suffering 70 percent burns, according to doctors.

So-called “honour” attacks are common in deeply conservative Pakistan.

Rights activists say more than 900 women were murdered last year after being accused of bringing shame on the family in some way.

Both parents have been arrested and Anusha’s mother Zaheen Akhtar, 42, speaking from her police cell in Khoi Ratta, around 140 kilometres (85 miles) north of Muzaffarabad, the main city in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, said she feared for the future of the rest of her children.

“I deeply regret my action. I am repenting as I should not have done this. She was very innocent. I feel like killing all my kids,” the mother of eight told AFP.

“My remaining children, including four girls and two boys, all under 10 years of age have been left alone and they have nobody out there except Allah the almighty to look after them,” she said.

Akhtar said she and husband Mohammad Zafar feared Anusha would follow in the footsteps of her elder sister who they married off at 16 “because people had been talking about her bad character” and who had cut off contact after moving to Karachi with her husband.

House painter Zafar, 53, said he brought Anusha inside to beat her after seeing her looking at two boys outside the family home, but now he was haunted by memories of the attack.

“We were upset by (the) character of our elder daughter and feared that Anusha might follow (in) her footprints,” he said.

“Anusha’s mother should not have done this. I cannot sleep and whenever I shut my eyes, I see Anusha’s burnt face.”

The parents waited two days to take Anusha to hospital, but Zafar insisted this was simply because they could not afford to take her until a local doctor gave him some money.


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