Why are Pakistani Christian women targeted for acid attacks and why are perpetrators spared from imprisonment? Watch Wilson Chowdhry's interview with Gary Lane for more.
A Christian woman in Pakistan has died from injuries she incurred from a recent acid attack.
The family of 25-year old Asma Yaqoob said she died at the hospital Sunday evening after a Muslim friend of the family doused her with acid and set her on fire.
Pretending to be Asma's brother, Rizwan Gujjar summoned the beautician to the gate of her workplace—a bridal saloon in Sihalkot, Pakistan. When she approached the gate, Asma realized it was Gujjar and not her brother. That is when 30-year old Gujjar threw acid on Asma, set her ablaze, and fled from the scene.
Family and friends say Gujjar committed the crime because Asma had rejected his marriage proposal.
Later, he was arrested and charged for committing an acid attack, but now that Asma has died, Gujjar is likely to be charged with murder. Although he took the life of a young, innocent Christian woman, the Muslim man may not end up serving any time in prison because of sharia law.
"As long as the victim's family accepts forgiveness for the perpetrator, the man can get off. And obviously he would do that by paying an appropriate bribe," explained Wilson Chowdhry, President of the British Pakistani Christians Association.
Christian women living in Pakistan are under constant threat of acid attack. As many as 400 attacks have occurred in that country annually and 70 percent of them happen to women under the age of 18.
Worldwide as many as 1500 acid attacks are reported each year. The country of Bangladesh used to have the highest number of reported incidents, but in 2002 the government banned acid attacks and passed a law mandating the death penalty for perpetrators convicted of the crime.
As a result, the number of acid attack cases dropped significantly.