Abdul Baqi was blinded with a spoon by his own father and brothers at their home in southwestern Pakistan because he insisted on marrying a young woman that he’d fallen in love with.
“I can survive without my eyesight, but I can’t live without love,” Baqi recently told RFE/RL as he reflected on the terrible trauma he suffered at the hands of his relatives in May 2018.
“Now I am like a fish out of water,” says Baqi, 26, an ethnic Pashtun from the town of Loralai in the northeastern part of Balochistan Province.
Baqi’s horrific tale illustrates that women are not the only victims in Pakistan of so-called “honor crimes” — a scourge of violence that has included acid attacks, blinding, and murder by relatives of victims accused of dishonoring their families.
Baqi says he was attacked after his 73-year-old father, Dost Mohammad, learned about his intention to marry the woman he loves. He says his father refused to consent to the marriage because the couple had gotten to know each other by speaking on the telephone during the previous three years.
According to conservative traditions in the region, a so-called “love marriage” is rare. Weddings are usually arranged by relatives and young women are not allowed to meet or speak with strangers.
Baqi’s father considered the woman to be “immoral” and unfit for marriage because of the long, secret telephone courtship.