KARACHI, March 25: Fakhra Younis, an acid attack victim who committed suicide in Italy, was buried here on Sunday.
The body which had arrived earlier in the day was received by the relatives, philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, MQM leaders Nasreen Jalil, Khusbakht Shujaat and Wasay Jalil, and human rights activists and politicians at the airport.The body had been sent to Karachi by the Pakistan embassy after funeral prayers had been offered in Rome. Funeral prayers were also offered in Karachi outside the Edhi Home in Federal B. Area where hundreds of MQM workers and human rights activists were present.
Maulana Saeedul Haq led the prayers and the body was taken to the Defence graveyard for burial.
Fakhra’s face was disfigured when her husband Bilal Khar, an ex-MPA and son of former Punjab governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar, allegedly threw acid on her in 2000.
She had met Bilal in 1998 and they got married within six months.
It has been reported that she left her husband and returned to her parent’s home after coming to know about his three previous marriages.
Bilal was accused of throwing acid on her in her parents’ home, badly disfiguring her face. She was sent to Italy for treatment.
Leaders of the MQM and rights activists demanded justice and punishment to the culprit.
Malik Tahseen Raza adds from Muzaffargarh: Talking to Dawn here, Bilal said: “The news of suicide of my ex-wife is disturbing for me.”
He opposed calls for reopening the acid attack case and said he had been arrested, tried and acquitted in 2002.
When they married, Fakhra was 18 and Bilal 30. Fakhra was already the mother of a three-year-old son.
She lived in Karachi where Bilal met her at a dance party.
He said he was living in Karachi after a conflict with his father who blamed Bilal for his defeat in an election.
Bilal said he and Fakhra courted for six months and then one day she came to his apartment and said she had fled her home and had no place to live. The following day they got married in court and started living together. However, their relations turned sour when he faced financial problems the same year.
On May 14, 2000, Fakhra came under the acid attack in her mother’s home in Karachi.
Bilal claimed that some other people had thrown acid on Fakhra.
He said after the attack Fakhra had lived with him in Karachi for four months and he had taken care of her but the situation went against him when his step-mother Tehmina Durrani stepped in and provoked his wife against him.
He said he was living in his father’s home in Lahore when the attack took place and he came to know about it through the media.
He said he rushed to Karachi and took care of her for four months. During this time, Tehmina also lived with them.
Bilal was arrested from Ghazi Ghat, Muzaffargarh, on Oct 31, 2002. Karachi police charged him with attempted murder under Sections 324, 326 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
He remained in jail for four months and verbally divorced Fakhra from there.
“I can’t think of attacking any woman with acid. It’s an inhuman act,” Bilal, an Aitcheson College alumnus, said.
Investigating officer SI Altaf Sial, Fakhra’s brother-in-law Irfan Malik who had been injured in the attack, her sister Kiran and her sister’s mother-in-law declared in a court that Bilal was innocent.
Advocate Shahadat Awan was the defence lawyer.
“I faced political victimisation because I belonged to a political family opposed to the government,” Bilal said.
On Dec 16, 2003, Karachi South District and Sessions Court Judge Bin Yamin acquitted him.
But, he said, the case was still haunting him.
Bilal said he had three little daughters and their friends asked them about the case.
“I’ve faced the court and am acquitted. Altaf Husain is an absconder and he has no moral authority to put me on trail,” he said.