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Pakistani actress suffers brutal acid attack

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 24th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A young and gifted Pakistani actress who goes under the stage name of Shazia Aziz has fallen victim to a brutal acid attack. Eighteen-year-old Bushra Waiz was reportedly attacked while asleep at her family home in Nowshera, according to her brother.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Now in critical condition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, Waiz suffered burns to the right side of her face. Doctors said that her right leg, arm and eye were also injured.

Her brother, Akhtar Waiz confirmed that his family was asleep in the courtyard when a man burst in and threw acid on his sister.

Waiz, the victim is an acclaimed Pashto-language singer, actress and theater artist. More global attention is being focused on acid throwing with the emergence of highly vocal activists who have been scarred for life in the attacks.

One such activist, Sonali Mukherjee of India was described as a beautiful, intelligent and ambitious young woman, who was president of the Student Union and captain of the National Cadet Corps. Mukherjee was an honor student set to pursue a PhD in sociology.  That all changed after three male students from her college started harassing her.

While Mukherjee was fast asleep on the roof of her house in 2003, the three men threw a jug of acid on her. Within seconds, the acid melted her face and part of her upper chest, losing her ability to see, hear, eat, walk and talk.

"I had hardly even lived my life, but that one incident changed the entire meaning of my life. It felt like the light had gone out all of a sudden, and darkness had surrounded me on all sides. I had no hope, I didn't know what to do," she says.

"I decided I don't want to die like this, or live like this. I decided I can't give up, I have to get better, I have to punish those guys and I have to support my family. I held my father's hand and crawled back to life."

Her father sold their family's ancestral land, gold and spent every penny of savings on her treatment. Mukherjee recently underwent her 27th reconstructive surgery.

In 2012, Mukherjee decided to participate in the country's most popular game show -- the Indian edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" She took part because she needed the money and she wanted the world to know her plight as a victim of an acid attack.

She won the $40,000 jackpot, enabling her to move to the Indian capital, New Delhi, for better medical treatment.

A medical team have managed to reconstruct her lips, eyelids, nose, but the challenge now is to give her "some kind of a normal face, somewhere close to what a normal human being would look like," doctors say.

The men who scarred her for life were freed after just two years in jail.

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