ISLAMABAD, Jan 24: Murad Ameer Shah, 29, a successful banker, famous for his ‘good looks’, with a large social network to boot, had everything going for him till Thursday, when he became the first male survivor of an acid attack in Islamabad.

According to Murad he was exercising on a treadmill, in his posh house in sector E-11, when the door bell rang. There was no servant in the house and Murad not wanting his wife or kids to go out, decided to go to the gate himself.

In Murad’s own words: “I was on the treadmill when the door bell rang…And when I opened the door, a stranger threw a bottle of acid on me.”

As acid takes time to seep in, initially Murad didn’t feel the burn and ran after the man who had thrown the acid.

He caught up with him, who was trying to escape with an accomplice. Later, people of the neighbourhood also came out to assist him. By that time, Murad began to feel the burn from the acid. The person who had thrown the acid was caught but the accomplice on the motorbike escaped.

Murad was immediately shifted to Pakistan institute of medical sciences (Pims) Burn Centre where he is being treated for third degree burns.

Associate Professor Tariq Iqbal at Pims is hopeful of recovery: “The patient is suffering from 25 per cent critical third-degree burns involving upper body parts, including one side of the face but Inshallah he will survive.”

So far it has not been ascertained as to who is behind the crime and what could be the possible motivation. Murad himself is not clear about the matter.

Murad described the attacker as a stranger, but as it turns out, the acid thrower, now in police custody, has been identified as a sweeper employed in the same bank where Mr Murad works.

Therefore a personal connection has been established; more details will emerge in the coming days as the police have gotten a two day remand for the acid thrower.

Whatever the final outcome, the man even in his comprising state remains a man of charm and influence, as a doctor in Pims testified: “This chap is one good looking guy and I am trying my best to ensure that he gets well.”

The doctor’s statements could have been treated as hyperbole, if the whole of Pims was not witnessing Mr Murad’s social influence.

It appears that the staff at Pims is perturbed by the huge influx of city’s socialites visiting Murad at the Burn Centre, which seems to be interfering with the work of the hospital.

Associate Professor Iqbal had to even vocally protest when an overwhelming number of Mr Murad’s friends began blocking the entrance at the Burn Centre.

“I request all the people in this lobby to please leave — your friend (Murad) is fine, please let us do our work,” pleaded Dr Iqbal.

Murad has not said a lot about the incident but even in a few words he has given lot away.  “I don’t like to come in the limelight because if you are doing excellent in your career or social life, jealousy can be one bad omen for you and can land you in serious trouble — we in general are a jealous society,” said Murad.

What further thickens the plot is that Mr Murad’s social network goes all the way to the Presidency.

The presence of intelligence officials at the Burns Centre seems to confirm this fact.

Also an official at the hospital said that the Presidency had directed the physicians at Pims to keep them (Presidency) informed over the health of the acid attack survivor.

Despite the odds, Murad continues to put up a brave face in the face of a tragedy few could have possibly feigned optimism.

Doctors and visitors all have been won over by Murad’s optimism, who despite having his entire body stitched up in bandages, remains upbeat and is hopeful that all will be well.



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