Tehmina Durrani—A lone warrior to fight against acid terrorism

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Kaswar Klasra

Islamabad

For hundreds of the victims of Acid-Attacks, Tehmina Durrani, an internationally acclaimed social worker who is also wife of Punjab’s powerful Chief Minister Mian Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif, has emerged as a lone warrior whose only mission is to take the bull by the horns.
Aiming high to fight Acid-terrorism, She took to Lahore’s iconic Liberty Market chowk on march 17, 2017. A huge crowed, mostly women including the victims of acid attacks followed her. Soon the crowed turned into a peaceful rally.
It was all about to mark March 17 as ‘ Fakhra Younus’ Day. Fakhra Younus was a Pakistani woman who was the victim of an acid attack, which severely injured her face. She underwent 39 surgeries during a 10-year period. She committed suicide on March 17, 2012 at age 33.
Tehmina Durrani went to an extra mile to make Fakhra live a normal life. Even she made elaborate arrangements in Italy to start new life. However, Fakhra jumped to death on March 17, 2012 from her apartment. Her death shocked everyone across the globe including Tehmina who later on found Tehmina Durrani Foundation only to follow footsteps of Abdul Sitar Edhi ( late).
For hundreds of victims of Acid attacks majority of which are women and children, Tehmina has emerged a ‘Mesiha’ on the horizon. Her foundation ‘Tehmina Durrani Foundation’ is just a few years old but doing great job when it comes to serve humanity. Even foreign countries including Europeans have spoken highly of both Tehmina Durrani and her foundation.
Perhaps, it was Tehmina Durrani’s service to humanity which pulled huge crowed at a short notice to mark Fakhra Younus Day on March 17,2017. Speaking at the occasion she termed acid attacks as ‘ Acid-terrorism’ and called for the government to equally deal with the terrorists and the acid attackers.
“ Its Acid-Terrorism. Authorities must deal with the terrorists and Acid attackers equally,” she said. Tehmina Durrani’s fight against Acid terrorism dates back to 2003 when she helped Fakhra Younus to move to Italy for treatment. In 2003, She told BBC that Once during her marriage, Mr Khar threatened to throw acid on her. Perhaps, it was one of the reasons she came out to help victims of Acid Attacks. After continuous struggle Tehmina’s fight against Acid terrorism is yielding fruit.
According to a report 50 per cent decline has been witnessed in acid crime cases across Pakistan since 2014. However, a reverse trend is witnessed in the number of children attacked in similar cases between 2013 and 2016, rising from 15 per cent to 21.3 per cent.
2014 was considered to be a critical baseline with a total of 153 acid attacks reported in the year. However the prevalence of acid attacks was stabilised in 2015 and 2016, according to the report which has been compiled by Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) in collaboration with European Union (EU), Group Development Pakistan and National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW).
In Jauary 2017, Tehmina Durrani on Tuesday called on Pakistan to join her in launching a global social welfare movement to ensure members of all societal strata—from the elite to the impoverished—were accorded their due rights.
Addressing a press conference two years after the inauguration of her non-governmental Tehmina Durrani Foundation, the rights activist urged Pakistanis to help her realize the late Abdul Sattar Edhi’s dream for a social welfare state. “We will continue the radical reform introduced by Edhi,” she said, referring to the globally renowned philanthropist, who died last year after a prolonged illness.
Durrani said her eponymous foundation was a ‘global movement’ for learning and would strive to educate the impoverished on the rights owed to them by the state. “Edhi’s work—his ambulances, orphanages and other essential facilities—showed us the basic needs required of our citizens. We must now spread and adopt his ideology,” she said, adding that the first step was changing the mindset of the ruling elite to reduce the barriers between the various social and economic classes. “We are here to explain your rights and ensure you receive them,” she said.