Musharraf OUT – Pakistani Women’s Future Now?
Comment at end
18th August, 2008
It is not at all clear that things will be better, although the removal of a military dictator would normally be applauded by other democracies.
The jury is still out as to whether a new administration in Pakistan will clamp down heavier on this kind of attack on women. And, by the way, as to whether or not Musharraf’s support for the western world against terrorism will be easier or harder to continue to pursue. A representative of the Pakistan Muslim League said tonight that addressing the ‘root causes’ of terrorism and ‘negotiation’ are of the utmost immediate importance. They also wish to put an end to the military operations in that troubled country.
I wonder how long that particular mantra of peace and understanding will last?
LAHORE, Pakistan — Saira Liaqat squints through her one good eye as she brushes a woman’s hair. Her face, most of which the acid melted years ago, occasionally lights up with a smile. Her hands, largely undamaged, deftly handle the dark brown locks.
A few steps away in this popular beauty salon, Urooj Akbar diligently trims, cleans and paints clients’ fingernails. Her face, severely scarred from the blaze that burned some 70 percent of her body, is somber. It’s hard to tell if she’s sad or if it’s just the way she now looks.
Liaqat and Akbar are among Pakistan’s many female victims of arson and acid attacks. Such tales tend to involve a spurned or crazy lover and end in a life of despair and seclusion for the woman.
The two instead became beauticians.
The women can’t escape the mirrors or pictures of glamorous models that surround them, but they consider the salon a second home and a good way to make a living. The two also serve as reminders of that age-old lesson on beauty — a lesson that, needed or not, they learned the hard way.