Posts Tagged ‘Yusufzai’

ASF Pakistan And NCSW Join Hands To Counter Acid Violence In Pakistan

April 15th, 2014

Article from Daily News:

NCSW, ASF sign MoU for data collection, monitoring

ISLAMABAD: The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) for the establishment of a mechanism for data collection and monitoring data update on a six-month basis
The purpose of this MoU is to organise training/networking workshops for capacity building and sensitisation of parliamentarians/members of assemblies, especially women, in relation with acid and burn violence. Both NCSW and ASF would identify, document and share good practices that will be capitalised upon in the future to address gender-based violence, especially violence against women. NCSW Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz termed the MoU a milestone for NCSW and said it was an important step towards testing and developing a workable monitoring mechanism that will provide the basis for appropriate actions. Mumtaz hoped that the MoU will provide a good model for collectively promoting women’s rights and working towards achieving gender equity as envisaged in Article 25 of the constitution. According to the Acid Survivors Foundation the country has a high survival rate amongst the victims of acid attacks. The victims, who mostly hail from low-income groups, face the uphill task of rebuilding their lives with physical challenges and psychological changes, which require long-term surgical treatment and in-depth intervention from psychologists and counselors. The ASF Chairperson Valerie Khan defined the MoU as “an interesting step towards institutionalising the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Pakistan”. She said that “such collaborations between the civil society and government institutions are crucial for enhancing good governance in the current scenario present in the country”.

valerie Khan Yusufzai, Chairperson ASF, along with her excellency Mrs Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson National Commission on The Status of Women

Acid Violence And What It Means To Survive And Hope

February 21st, 2014

Countering acid violence requires additional measures and work

http://www.voanews.com/content/practice-of-punishing-with-acid-attacks-persists-in-pakistan/1855836.html

February 20, 2014

Use of Acid Attacks for Punishment Persists in Pakistan

by Sharon Behn

WARNING: Video contains images of disfigured faces that some might find disturbing.

Despite laws against acid attacks, the practice of pouring acid on men, women and children as a form of punishment continues in Pakistan. Two victims who are trying to put their lives back together again spoke with VOA about their challenges.

Muhammad Hassan Mangi, Director General of the Pakistan Ministry of Human Rights, said there are laws in place against acid throwing. He admits, however, that more needs to be done.

“You need to have such methods and things in practice that you can express your, even, anger in a decent manner. That has to be understood by society,” he said.

Muhammad Farooq refused to marry the woman his family had chosen for him. His punishment was having corrosive acid thrown in his face.

“It felt like water, but I was wrong. The acid burned my face and body, my skin sounded like dried leaves cracking,” said Farooq.

Forty percent of the acid attack victims in Pakistan are men or boys.

Farooq endured horrific physical pain. And deep depression. “At first, I was devastated. There was nothing left in my life. No past, no future, no present,” he said.

There were 143 acid attacks registered with the Acid Survivors Foundation in 2013. Most were against women and girls.

Nusrat Bibi’s brother refused to marry into her husband’s family. She paid the price. She’s had 17 surgeries to rebuild her face and body.

“Anyone who saw me got scared. They showed my pictures to my children to scare them, telling them their mother was frightening and had become a ghost,” said Bibi.

Valerie Khan, chair of the Acid Survivors Foundation in Islamabad, said breaking the stigma of the survivors’ scars is essential to their survival.

“It’s about rebuilding your mind, your self-esteem, and it’s about reclaiming your space in the community and in the public space as a man, a woman, who deserves — and will obtain — respect and dignity again,” she said.

Farooq no longer hides his face. He is trying his hand at photography. He’s living his life.

“My message to those that did this is that you tried your best to kill us, but we have been saved. God willing we will move on. Never lose hope, be patient. This is a test of patience. God will reward us,” said Farooq.

ASF Pakistan Joins Civil Society Rally To Protest Against Violence Against Children.

October 11th, 2012
Weather: Karachi | Lahore | Islamabad
Editor-in-Chief: Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman

Myra Imran
Thursday, October 11, 2012
From Print Edition
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Islamabad

The civil society activists have demanded the government to declare October 9, the day when child peace activist Mala Yousafzai was attacked in Swat, as National Day for Girls Education.

A large number of civil society representatives and human rights workers gathered in front of National Press Club to condemn the assassination attempt on the 14-year-old Malala when she was on her way back home from her school. Malala Yousafzai, a social activist from Swat, stood up and spoke for children’s rights and peace in the time of militancy in the area. She was hardly 11, when she spoke to media for the right to education in Swat, which was banned by Taliban.

Even during the worst terror and peak of extremism in Swat valley, she was actively involved in action by writing a daily diary on BBC website with a pen name of Gul Makai. She is also the first Pakistani girl to be nominated for International Children’s peace prize by Kids Rights Foundation The protesters were holding placards inscribed with statements of praises for Malala’s courage and pledges to take forward her mission of educating girls. They raised slogans against Taliban. Jamaat-e-Islami workers also joined the protest. The protesters made speeches and marched towards Super Market.

The protesters urged the government to take full responsibility of the safety of its citizens and take substantive action against the perpetrators. They said that it was not only an attack on a Malala but it was an attack on the right of girl’s education.

“This is the right time that we all should stand against these forces leaving aside our political differences,” said human rights activist Nasreen Azhar, read statement of Women Action Forum (WAF).

The statement demanded all political parties, judiciary, media and civil society to collectively speak out against those who are terrorizing the country.

Talking to ‘The News’, Tahira Abdullah said that the attack has left her horrified and shocked. “It makes a mockery out of false and tall claims by the government and armed forces made in summer 2009 that they have cleared Malakand from militants. We have known this since that time, but the attack on Malala has provided us with the proof,” she added.

Farzana Bari said that the civil society has declared October 9 as National Day for Girl Education and demands the government to declare the same officially. She said that the civil society has also made a call for a nationwide march in the favour of girl education, which they plan in the middle of November.

Rehana Hashmi from Sister’s Trust Foundation said that the new trend of targeting women is completely against Islam and also the Pakhtun culture. “They have tried to create an environment of fear for girls,” she said terming it a conspiracy against the country.

Naeem Mirza from Aurat Foundation said that murder attack on Malala is a desperate act of extremist forces to frustrate youth of Pakistan particularly girls who have spoken courageously for their rights including right to education. “But they have failed as the incident has united the nation behind Malala’s vision,” he said.

Samina Nazir from Potohar Organisation for Development Advocacy (PODA) said that she strongly condemn the shameful act and demand strict action against the perpetrators. “This is one of the many times when the human and women’s rights activists were threatened and attacked. The government must provide protection to those raising their voices for the rights,” she added.

Valerie Khan from Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) said that the incident was the extreme violence against children and urged the government to pass pending legislation for the protection of children.

Article In Dawn.Com

July 3rd, 2012

Need to implement pro-women laws’

From the Newspaper | | 28th June, 2012
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LAHORE, June 27: Participants in a seminar have urged the government and the civil society to make joint efforts to ensure implementation of pro-women laws in letter and spirit.

The seminar on ‘Law enforcement for pro-women legislation and the Domestic Violence Bill’ was arranged by Mumkin, an alliance of 18 civil society organisations, at a local hotel on Wednesday.

Chief Minister’s Adviser Begum Zakia Shahnawaz said the attitude of the society towards domestic violence was deplorable as it was considered a family matter in which the law and state should not intervene.

Some 610 incidents of domestic violence were reported and around 10,000 women were identified as victims of violence or forced marriage in the country, she said and added that it was the responsibility of the state to protect its population, especially the most vulnerable segments like women, elderly people and children, and to punish perpetrators.

Ms Shahnawaz said the Punjab government was encouraging the pro-women legislation and would effectively implement the Domestic Violence Bill after its passage from the provincial assembly after which such issues would be addressed amicably in Punjab and no-one would dare to torture the vulnerable people.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan General Secretary I.A Rehman said the government should be persuaded to implement in letter and spirit all laws in general and those pertaining to vulnerable segment of society in particular.

He said that it was the duty of the civil society to see how many cases were reported and how many were in courts.

Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq of Nasreen Trust explained various clauses of the draft domestic violence bill and its provisions, punishments and central demand for survivors of violence.

She urged the government to take proper action to protect vulnerable persons irrespective of gender.

Acid Survivor Foundation President Valerie Khan stressed the need to adopt law enforcement mechanisms for the pro-women legislation.

Vulnerable persons, especially women, had been facing a lot of problems to get cases registered in the police station concerned, she said.

Punjab Bar Council president Rana Muhammad Asif Saeed highlighted various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code regarding family disputes and domestic violence issues.

Social Welfare and Baitul Maal Secretary Sardar Akram Javeed spoke about the measures taken by the government for the betterment of women victims of violence.

He specifically mentioned the 35 shelter homes in Punjab where some 10,000 or so victims were accommodated free of cost annually.

Mumkin advocacy manager Summiya Yousaf said that 6,188 cases of violence against women had been reported in Punjab in 2011.

The passage of the Domestic Violence Bill and its implementation should remain key challenges and the Punjab government should be the model province for women rights.

A great event to celebrate Pakistani-Franco-British synergy!

May 20th, 2012

ASF Protocol youth team ready to welcome the guests!

Mavesh and Nazeeran, happy to be there!

Everything structured, registration desk operational!

ASF team and Interplast UK team devising for great work

ASF Executive Director welcoming the guests

ASF chairperson valerie Khan Yusufzai, Dr Charles Viva and Uk Aid representative

Senator Richard Yung, who proposed ASF project " Ambulance of Hope"to the French Senate

ASF management/advisory team along with Mr Philippe Thiebaut, french ambassador to Pakistan

Mr Philippe Thiebaut, French ambassador to Pakistan offering and presenting the ambulance of hope to Pakistani acid attack survivors.

Distributing awards to interplast team: ASF ED and UK aid representative.

Interplast UK team, delighted with the awards.

Remembering….

May 6th, 2012

In December 2009, ASF-Pak had to face a difficult year: funding was scarce and the NCRU was about to be closed…

ASF senior amgement was even thinking about opening one room in their house to shelter Naziraan at that time…

But Valerie Khan Yusufzai just had to go and meet BLACK BOX Sound team, one of ASF media partners and say : “I need help”. Black Box Sound produced a video for free “Message in a bottle”. and hence sufficient funds were raised through a lawyer, a doctor and the only Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Unit for acid survivors in Pakistan was saved and sustained!

Thank you Black Box Sound, agents of change!

ASF Chairperson narrating the partnership between BBS and ASF on the occasion of BBS 7th anniversary!

Outreach Program On Acid Violence Starting With Youth And HEC…

April 16th, 2012
Myra Imran
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Islamabad: To build public opinion against acid crimes, the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Saving the Face’ by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will be released soon in Pakistan with translation in national and regional languages.

The information to this effect was shared during a panel discussion on ‘Acid attack and its effect on society.’ The discussion, attended by an audience of more than 150 university students and officials from across Pakistan, was sponsored jointly by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Aurat Foundation, and the Acid Survivors Foundation with the US support. Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, wife of US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, moderated the event.

The panel included Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Professor Hamid Hassan, a doctor who heads the burn unit at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi, Dr. Khadija Tahir, a psychotherapist that treats acid survivors, Barrister Naveed Muzaffar Khan, a lawyer who defends victims of acid attacks, and Executive Director of Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Valerie Khan and Aurat Foundation representative and activist Samina Naz. HEC Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari also spoke on the occasion.

The panelists called for an end to acid attacks and other violence against women and urged all sections of society to come forward and demand strong legislation against the crime and its effective implementation. They said that to bring the change, the whole nation has to reject the acid crimes.

Sharing statistics, Executive Director Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Valerie Khan said that around 200 such attacks occur annually in the country with most of them reported in southern Punjab and northern Sindh. She said that 70 per cent of acid crime victims are women whereas 30 per cent are men and boys. “In 60 per cent of cases, the reason is domestic dispute,” she said.

Applauding the efforts of the Pakistani legislature to pass acid attack legislation, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt asked the attendees to work to end gender-based violence, specifically acid attacks. She said that the main objective of the event is to raise awareness among university students about the devastating effects of acid attacks and acid crimes on Pakistani society.

“Pakistan’s youth demographic represents 60 per cent of the nation’s citizenry, it is important that you sensitise yourself to this important issue so that your mothers, sisters, and daughters do not suffer from this gruesome crime,” she said.

Dr. Wyatt said that acid victims face acute physical and psychological sufferings; they lose their identity and are deprived of their relationships and friendships. “It is our responsibility to help these victims and play our role in the implementation of the legislation against the hideous crime.”

Sharmeen said that her achievement shows the power of telling story. “The stories of acid crime make headlines in the media but we actually fail to see what these victims have to go through once they survive the attack.” Giving credit to the acid crime survivors, she said that she was lucky to find the strong voices that were brave enough to break the silence. She stressed on the need for educating women about the existence of law against acid crime. “We need to take them out of the mindset that they are responsible for what happened to them,” she said.

Responding to a question asked by a university student regarding the fact that the documentary on acid victims has given Pakistan another bad headline in international media, Sharmeen said that the headline was always positive for Pakistan and was about a Muslim woman receiving the highest documentary-making award. “It has given the image of a country that has the courage to face and solve its problems,” she said. Her answer received appreciation from the young crowd, who expressed their consent with clapping.

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Men Engage: And A Miracle Happened…

March 31st, 2012

Dr Rukhshanda Parveen’s  testimony: “Justice DELAYED is Justice DENIED! I was touched when men who were standing there as SPECTATORS joined us.When a man from Baluchistan agreed to my Yelling ( if no Man is ready to lead fateha we women will do it) and offered Dua- He mentioned FAKHRA as Shaheed-Perhaps for the first time an Abondoned wife was given the status of Shaheed:’) Thank you all boys and men who stood with women likemyself -the “sinner ungrateful women” as in the words of Kiswer naheed…”

For Fakhra's vigil, a man from the crowd said : "I am with you", he is in this photo, behind Samar Minallah. And then the other men passing by joined the crowd and shouted slogans to demand justice for Fakhra, joining the civil society in the prayers...

Dr Rukhshanda among demonstrators

Beyond Words…

March 26th, 2012
Tehmina Durrani
Saturday, March 24, 2012
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Fakhra is not a new tragedy..she was always a tragedy. Her life was a parched stretch of hard rock on which nothing bloomed. Her country of birth gave her nothing at all. Her environment of birth condemned her to social unacceptability and disrespect. She was born without any right of choice.

At the young age of 22 an acid attack left her only marginally alive .her horrific mutilation disfigured her so completely that she was now confronted by open disgust and contempt by everyone who set eyes on her in Pakistan. She also became a liability to her own family. for whom she was once a source of income.

I have met many acid victims. never have I seen one as completely disfigured as Fakhra. She had not just become faceless; her body had also melted to the bone.Despite her stark and hopeless condition, the government of the Islamic Republic Of Pakistan was not in the least God fearing. She was provided nothing..but disdain..and trashed.

At just one single request.a foreign country, Italy, immediately and urgently, arranged for everything Fakhra, and her five-year-old son Nauman required. Despite her extremely disturbing ‘image’, the gracious people of Italy never ever made her feel she was any different to any one of them! In the beautiful city of Rome, Fakhra was able to walk the streets, laze in the parks, and enter a shop or a restaurant in the most prestigious of places, without an iota of embarrassment. In fact every waiter served her more respectfully than he did any other, and every person who looked her way smiled and nodded with respect!

Were the catholic people practicing Christ’s exemplary kindness towards lepers? And were we, the followers of the great religion of Islam, and The Last Prophet (pbuh), still living in the times of ‘Jahalia?’

Despite the fact that medical insurance is extremely costly for the Italian citizen,the Italian government placed Fakhra under the exclusive supervision of one of the most highly reputed reconstructive surgeons of that country. She underwent 38 major surgeries in twelve years! Professor Charvelli’s solemn comment on hearing of the death of his incredible patient was: “I tried to mend her physical scars. but was unable to heal her soul.”

Fakhra was taught to speak fluent Italian, had extensive counseling and assistance from Italy’s social services. But much as she adjusted very well among a foreign people, acquired some semblance of existence, was provided a home from which no one could throw her out. A salary from the Italian taxpayers money.. a school with children from normal Italian families for her son.. There was not a single day that Fakhra did not pine for Pakistan.

“If I don’t get back in my lifetime,promise to take my dead body home,” were words that speak volumes for her capacity to forgive, and her oceanic generosity of spirit..It also throws a high voltage spotlight on the smallness of ‘ours’.

Fakhra was jubiliant on the day parliament passed the law of life imprisonment against acid terrorism.She celebrated the Punjab government’s vow to get that law implemented in letter and spirit on International Woman’s Day.She was thrilled when the documentary ‘Saving face’ won an Oscar award.but she also felt forgotten. As if this pioneering face of acid violence had achieved her life’s purpose. After 13 years and 38 major surgeries, she gave up pretending to be alive.

The courage it took to reject life; was not in the least comparable to the courage it had taken for her to live it. But then, Fakhra Yunas was not just an acid victim.She was a warrior. Despite the fact that the vehicle that contained the spirit of God was so deeply burnt that it had practically melted; that powerful spirit had remained inexplicably and unfathomably inextinguishable.she breathed.inhaled and exhaled that divine breath. Her courage in these last thirteen years will bare witness that she was not so weak as to commit suicide.

Her time had come.

The angel of death had come.

Otherwise, her spirit was too powerful to be put out. It was not a small flickering flame.

Never have I known a human being who has shown more spunk and grit, had such a high threshold of pain, been more accepting of life in any way and any form.and also been jubilant and excited by the smallest joys that came her way. Fakhra died thirteen years ago.

Fakhra died again to remind the world that she had lived.

Allah realised her dream to return to Pakistan. in the only way it was possible for one such as her to be here. among us, the people of this country. under the callous system that rules the ‘so-called’ Islamic Republic Of Pakistan.

Her countrymen should at least now open their hearts and give her the love and respect she so deserves.even though it shall now be hers anyway.Mother earth will receive Fakhra with open arms. And I guess that is what she really loved about Pakistan. the earth of this country.

We, the people of Pakistan should forever remain obliged to Italy, the country, and to itsr incredible people. They carried a responsibility that was ours, a duty that we shirked from..Italy and her people carried our burden on her own shoulders without any sign of tiring out. Indeed it carried the burden of humanity with the spirit of humanitarianism which is the basis of all religions.

We have failed God and Fakhra..but we can still learn a fundamental lesson from this glaring and shameful comparison. With profound gratitude to Signor Maritsi of St Angelica Industries, and to Arsilia who became a second mother to Nauman. To Professor Charvelli for his untiring persistence to give Fakhra renewed hope every time she saw an improvement in her appearance. and especially to Clarice Felli, President of Smile Again Italy, (which annulled the agreement that associated the mother body with Musarat Misbah’s NGO Smile Again-Pakistan.) Under Clarice Felli’s care, Fakhra spent some of the happiest times of her life..Clarice was a lady Fakhra loved dearly, a lady who loved her back as much if not more.

Celebrating 12th February 2012: National Woman Day Along With National Commission On The Status Of Women And Ministry Of Human Rights, EVAWG Alliance And Schola Nova.

February 20th, 2012

Schola Nova Students Council team volunteering to celebrate Pakistani National Women Day.

The Burning truth program of Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan has always made sure that we would include youth turned into agents of change, and thus, promote the volunteers who will be in charge of generating systemic change and promote human rights. Here they are along with Valerie Khan, ASF chairperson.

Congratulations, Pakistan is proud of them!

Henna Safdar, ASF project manager with a few volunteers: good work!