Plastic Surgeon Offers £50,000 Of Surgery To Help Acid Attack Survivors Rebuild Their Lives

Women left disfigured by horrific acid attacks have undergone specialist surgery, free of charge, by a British plastic surgeon.

Asim Shahmalak has performed over £50,000 worth of reconstructive surgery, including intricate eyelash and eyebrow transplants, on six women who were left disfigured in a series of unrelated attacks.

Some were attacked for doing nothing more than warding off a man's advances.

In Pakistan, acid attacks are not uncommon. In fact 143 acid attacks were registered by the Acid Survivors Foundation in 2013.

More often than not, the victims are women or young girls.

Father-of-two, Dr Shahmalak, said that he wept when he first heard what had happened to the women: "Their stories were heartbreaking - scarred for life because you want to better yourself and work as an air hostess.

"Doused with acid because you turned down a man's proposal - people were better treated in the Middle Ages."

Some of the victims had been attacked with sulphuric acid, which can be bought for 15p per bottle on the streets of Karachi where the women live.

And in an even more heartbreaking twist, the women were all shunned by society after the attacks happened, which made finding work and a steady source of income almost impossible.

When Shahmalak heard of their plight, he took a team from the Crown Clinic hair transplant centre to Pakistan and performed hair, eyebrow and eyelash transplants on six women, with a view to help them rebuild their lives.

One of Shahmalak's patients, Kanwal Ashar, 24 (pictured above) had been working in a beauty salon before she was viciously attacked by a man who had been stalking her.

After refusing her obsessor's marriage proposal, Ashar was left covered in acid and scarred for life.

Meanwhile Kanwal Qayyoum, 29 (above), was doused in acid after telling a jealous former friend that she was starting a new job as an air hostess. She was attacked while she slept.

Mona Bhatti, 42, was shunned by Pakistani society after having a sex change operation. Born a man, she was splattered with acid while begging on the streets.

But Dr Shahmalak isn't just helping acid attack survivors. One patient, Asma Fayyaz, 23 (above), was horrifically scarred three years ago after falling into a pan of boiling fat when she slipped in her kitchen.

One year after the women's surgery, Dr Shahmalak made a return trip to Karachi to check up on their progress.

He said: "It was wonderful to meet the women again and see how their lives had been improved by the surgery.

“It was incredibly moving to see the smiles on their faces after we performed the surgery. They had given up hope of ever getting help because the Government in Pakistan cannot afford to do anything for them. We were their last hope."

“These women are too frightened of reprisals to tell the police who has attacked them," he added. "And even if they did, they have no faith that the culprits will be brought to justice.”

Later this year, the cosmetic surgeon from Manchester is planning a return trip to Karachi to help transform five other women who have been attacked with acid.

"There is so much more work to do," said Shahmalak. "I am just glad that I am able to make a difference to these women's lives."

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