On Monday, four women were attacked in Quetta with acid thrown on their faces. This is a tragic habit that patriarchy has adopted in Pakistan and is at an all time high. The reasons behind the current attack are still undisclosed. These are not isolated events. In September 2011, four female teachers were attacked with acid in Quetta and no group claimed responsibility and no arrests have been made. Motivations range from male embarrassment, to proposal rejections to carrying out the will of God on “unchaste” women.

The most common type of acids used are sulfuric and nitric acid. A large social change that can give women country wide respect and right to life and choice seems to be impossible with the prevailing anti-feminist conservative patriarchal system. However, the smallest of controls on the sale, like the recording of a purchaser’s NIC can significantly reduce the incident of attacks. These chemicals are freely available. In Pakistan, Punjab has the highest reported number of acid and burn attacks. At least 65 per cent of the victims are women and girls and 15 per cent are children. The prosecution rate is only 35 percent. Though there was some discussion in Parliament in June to make a law against such crimes, there is no such movement in other provinces.

In this country, honor and “izzat”, mostly that of the male, have justified the physical and mental destruction of hundreds of women. There is consistent news of girls being buried alive, raped, killed, stoned and burned. Mostly the police either do not cooperate, or the girl’s family is too ashamed to demand justice. When subjective ideas like shame and honor hold more importance for society than human life and choice, the country hangs on the lowest rung of culture and civilisation. There should be no limit to the anger we feel for men who attack women in such a way; men with monstrous minds and evil egos who must be held to account for ravaging precious lives.