Deaths | Pakistan | Religion

Fakhra Younis Commits Suicide

4142077372She couldn't make it. She'd been a teenage dancer, working the red light district in Karachi, Pakistan, when she met her husband. He was in his mid-30s, and his name was Bilal Khar: the rich and powerful son of a governor. The pair were married.

Things didn't go well. He beat her, she said, and she left him. Afterward, as Fakhra Younis slept on her mother's couch a few feet from her five-year-old son, Khar stole into the house and poured acid on her face and body.

He was acquitted of the crime; she could not escape her new face. Despite a move to Rome and more than three dozen reconstructive surgeries over the last decade, she was destroyed. She jumped to her death from a height of six stories on March 17th.

From Emirates News:

Tehmina Durrani, Ghulam Mustafa Khar's ex-wife and [Bilal Khar's] stepmother, became an advocate for Younus after the attack, drawing international attention to the case. She said that Younus' injuries were the worst she had ever seen on an acid attack victim.

"So many times we thought she would die in the night because her nose was melted and she couldn't breathe,'' said Durrani, who wrote a book about her own allegedly abusive relationship with the elder Khar. "We used to put a straw in the little bit of her mouth that was left because the rest was all melted together.''

"Her life was a parched stretch of hard rock on which nothing bloomed,'' Durrani wrote in a column in The News after Younus' suicide.

Younus' ex-husband grew up in starkly different circumstances, amid the wealth and power of the country's feudal elite, and counts Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar as a cousin.

Bilal Khar once again denied carrying out the acid attack in a TV interview following her suicide, suggesting a different man with the same name committed the crime. He claimed Younus killed herself because she didn't have enough money, not because of her horrific injuries, and criticized the media for hounding him about the issue.

"You people should be a little considerate,'' said Khar. "I have three daughters and when they go to school people tease them.''

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    Posted by: Shannon | Mar 31, 2012 3:00:32 PM

  2. A small radical group of Islamists, who do not actually practice their religion, but use their religion for hatred do not represent all Muslims.

    But there is a religion that has infiltrated countless cultures, wrought havoc on the economic and political systems of those cultures, killed their languages, raped and tortured children, exploited the poor, oppressed women and gays, and to this very day large factions of this religion continue to do so.

    That religion is Christianity, primarily the Catholic church, more recently the Mormon church. In the name of Jesus, hatred, bigotry, religious cancer has spread, committing crimes against humanity for centuries.

    It is human nature to judge others through the same prism you see yourself.

    Posted by: Ricco | Mar 31, 2012 3:15:09 PM

  3. amen, RICCO.

    it's also a very-telling insecure defense mechanism for those still delusional slaves to Christian Oppression choosing instead to focus on anything "Islam-y" as a target for their anger.

    Gay Conservatives who ignore the plethora of outright anti-gay bigotry in their party and choose instead to say "OBAMA HASN'T DONE ANYTHING!!"

    Closeted White Christian Adults in North America saying "SEE?!? things are WAY WORSE overseas!"

    yeah. but you're here. so what's stopping you from standing up to be counted?

    And you're right, RICCO, this has little to do with the religious tenets of Islam and everything to do with a male-ruled anti-woman culture.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Mar 31, 2012 3:20:07 PM

  4. With all their talk about Jesus and the Bible . . . if Jesus visited the United States, Fox news and friends would denounce him as the anti-Christ.

    Posted by: Ricco | Mar 31, 2012 3:37:16 PM

  5. Thank you BKT.

    I didn't know about Fakhra's story. Although it had a sad ending it will remain as an inspiration for the men and women fighting against misogyny and homophobia around the world.

    Posted by: Felix | Mar 31, 2012 3:38:04 PM

  6. If Jesus came to the US He'd be utterly confused as to why all the people claiming to "live by His word" are walking around defending their right to carry loaded guns and to deny healthcare to people who are broke.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Mar 31, 2012 3:46:22 PM

  7. Why does it have to be one or the other? Why not just say both Christianity and Islam have awful oppressive elements within them. If you hold Christianity responsible for the evil done in its name, you have to do the same for Islam and other cultures. Otherwise, you are just picking sides rather than defending principles of equality, compassion etc.

    Posted by: fern | Mar 31, 2012 3:51:50 PM

  8. Yes I agree with the above. The beliefs of the Christian right are completely opposed to the teachings of Christ.

    Posted by: fern | Mar 31, 2012 3:57:22 PM

  9. Kiwi - The funny thing about your bipolar obsession with my image is that I am using my name, and you are using a handle. Given that you appear to be about 35 or 40, then I was already out and politically active when your mom could still remember what your dad looked like.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 31, 2012 5:03:35 PM

  10. Stories like this make me wish/hope that Heaven is real so guys like this can go to Hell.

    Posted by: Drew | Mar 31, 2012 8:36:49 PM

  11. Poor soul. R.I.P

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 31, 2012 8:40:56 PM

  12. Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights. Gay rights are also human rights and human rights are gay rights. And so women's rights are gay rights and gay rights are women's rights.

    The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King said, "none of us are free until all of us are free." Jesus Christ said "what you do even to the least among you, you do to me."

    There are idiot Republicans and fundamentalist "Christian" haters out there saying they're being persecuted because people are telling them to stop trying to legislate against women and gays. Fakhra Younis knows what it's like to be persecuted. Because if you read between the lines of what her ex-husband is saying, if it wasn't he who did this to her, then it was someone who believed she shamed men or marriage or family or community or their religious law by leaving her abusive husband, and took it upon themselves to mete out retribution to her, which is basically what their religious law says should happen.

    God bless her soul, and her children—may they not turn out to be anything like their father.

    Posted by: Brand | Mar 31, 2012 9:06:36 PM

  13. Religion is pure evil.

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Mar 31, 2012 10:30:53 PM

  14. You are correct FERN . . . there are oppressive elements to those who practice both religions: Islam and Christianity . . . but I was responding to the static opinion of HEARNE concerning Muslims, driving a wedge through the heart of America with paranoia, bigotry and hatred toward Muslims, particularly American-Muslims.

    A little over a week ago an Iraqi immigrant, a mother, was brutally beaten with a tire iron east of San Diego. The killer left this note: “go back to your country you terrorist.”

    These incidences of brutality and bias against American Muslims are epidemic . . . and while I can find stories of Muslims getting on the band wagon with Christians, mostly in the UK (thankfully), where gays are concerned I cannot find a story where American-Muslims are murdering Christians for their faith.

    For those who go in for that sort of thing, the Bible is pretty straight-forward: Love your enemies, pray for those who use you, who persecute you. When your enemy slaps your cheek, turn the other cheek as well . . . .

    No where in the Bible does it say anything about beating your "perceived" enemy with a tire iron . . .

    And that FERN/HEARNE is the difference between the radical right's bogus claims of Muslims taking over the world . . . and Christians, who actually have taken over the world.

    Just putting things in perspective . . . but if if I could live in a world of pure imagination it would look like this:

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man

    Imagine all the people Sharing all the world
    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you will join us
    And the world will live as one

    Posted by: Ricco | Mar 31, 2012 10:48:53 PM

  15. Dearest Ricco,

    I am sorry that the reality is in conflict with your philosophy, but as long as you feel really good about yourself, well that's all that matters isn't it?

    Now land the Spaceship Uptopia and have a good look at reality. Europe is having severe problems with Muslims. If we continue to allow them to come here, then we will have bigger problems than we already have.

    We don't need to be "fair" in immigration. We don't need a reason to exclude a person or a people. This is our country and we can exclude anyone we like, even if it's just for good measure.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 31, 2012 11:24:46 PM

  16. Oh, and Ricco, save the one world commie crap for your next pothead convention in Golden Gate Park. We have already experimented with lowering the borders in the US, and it hasn't worked out all that well. We have 12 million or more illegal aliens in this country, including 5% of the population of Mexico. It's having a delightful effect on Southern California.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 31, 2012 11:29:50 PM

  17. LOL . . . What? David, are you a hundred years old? "Commie crap?" "Pot head convention in Golden Gate Park?"

    You are a funny little old man.

    Almost, I thought to dignify your presumptuous, narrow minded diatribe with an articulate, respectful response, but then I remembered that Bible verse (you do like the Bible, David . . . yes?):

    Matthew 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces."

    My mother always told me to respect your elders. And while I do not necessarily agree that my elders are deserving of my respect, I have learned that you can only get so far in reasoning with the mentally infirm.

    Let's just agree that I am commie waiting for the spaceship Utopia (though, personally, I prefer the good ship Lolly-pop), and you are a hater.

    Peace out, Gramps.

    Posted by: Ricco | Mar 31, 2012 11:56:46 PM

  18. I gotta stop reading Towleroad on the weekends. It's too damn depressing.

    Posted by: txstevo | Apr 1, 2012 3:55:53 AM

  19. INSCRUTABLETED: right there in the tags.

    You have to be a fool not to know that this practice continues to exist due to the support by extremist religious groups.

    Posted by: Stuart | Apr 2, 2012 6:56:56 PM

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