Four years ago Naeema Azar was a successful real estate agent living in Pakistan. Shortly after divorcing her husband, he came by allegedly to visit their three children. But while in the home he poured acid onto Azar’s face, burning her horribly and leaving her blind and disfigured.
In Pakistan, a country where women have few rights, an advocacy group has documented over 7,000 deliberate burnings of women in just two cities since 1994. Only two percent of those cases were successfully prosecuted, according to activist Shahnaz Bukhari of the Progressive Women’s Association (PMA.)
In this New York Times video, opinion columnist Nicholas D. Kristof calls the acid attacks a form of terrorism that gets almost no attention and thrives as a result. Kristof believes the burnings are used to subjugate women and girls in many Asian countries where women have little recourse. The intention is to disfigure or deform the women. In the case of Naeema Azar, acid burned away her left ear and most of her right ear. It blinded her and burned away most of her face leaving just bone.
Kristof narrates the video and urges Americans to get involved by pressuring congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act. Until the region’s leaders get serious about prosecuting attackers, he warns, the terror will continue to spread.
The chilling video includes interviews with feisty women’s activist Bukhari, burn victim Azar and her doting 12-year old son Ahsan Shah.
By Nicholas D. Kristof
Produced by Rob Harris
Edited by Emily B. Hager