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03
23

Tehmina Durrani | The Woman Behind The Revolution [x]

Tehmina Durrani is a Pakistani author and activist. For 13 years, she was married to Ghulam Mustafa Khar, the former Governor of Punjab and one of the most powerful men in the country during the 70s and 80s. She chronicled her marriage in the 1991 book, My Feudal Lord, where she describes the abuse, torture, rape and humiliation she suffered at the hands of Khar. 

She faced criticism not only for speaking out against Khar, but also for staying in the marriage for 13 years and having children with him. Reviews of the book to this day disparage her for not leaving sooner or seeking help or doing more to protect her children, despite Khar commanding tremendous power and influence. On page 156, she writes: “What could the police do? They would admonish Mustafa, but sooner or later I would be alone with him, in a worse predicament than before. My silence was not to protect Mustafa; it was to protect myself.”

In 1997, Ghulam Mustafa Khar’s son, Bilal, married a woman named Fakhra Yunus. She too suffered physical abuse at the hands of her husband and escaped after three years to return to her mother’s home. However, in April 2000, Bilal Khar tracked her down and threw acid in her face while she slept. After being released from the hospital, she returned to Bilal and reached out to Tehmina Durrani for help. Tehmina intervened and took Fakhra into her own house despite facing death threats from the Khar family.

Tehmina Durrani is now the author of several books and an activist for Pakistani women and rights of the poor. Her efforts to help Fakhra were detailed in a 2001 Time Magazine article entitled “The Evil That Men Do” which also contained this iconic graphic photograph of the two of them. Fakhra Younus committed suicide on March 17, 2012 at the age of 33. Bilal Khar was acquitted of all charges.

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