Quetta – Four masked men on motorcycles have thrown acid on four women outside a shop in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta.
The men used syringes to throw acid on the faces of the women as they left the jewellery shop in a busy market in the Sariab district on Monday, Imran Qureshi, police superintendent of Sariab, told Al Jazeera.
“The attackers managed to escape from the scene. Dozens of women were present in the market as they were busy Eid shopping,” Qureshi said.
The victims were shifted to Bolan Medical Complex, the only hospital in Balochistan that treats patients with burns.
One of the victims, a teenager, received burns of 11 percent.
“The women were burnt three, six, four and 11 percent and all burns are second degree which normally do not cause any scars on the body after treatment,” Dr Hidayatullah, who was treating the victims, told Al Jazeera.
The victims did not name any suspects.
“The victims in their statements said they had no enmity with anyone,” Qureshi said, adding that it appeared the teenager with the most severe injuries was the prime target.
“It is too early to say whether any religious fanatic group is behind the attack or the incident took place due to a family dispute,” he said.
Shopkeepers and passersby told police that “there were dozens of women present in the market but the culprits targeted specifically these four women”.
It was not the first time in Quetta that women have been attacked with acid. Four young female teachers were attacked in September 2011.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack but the school where they taught closed for several weeks after receiving threatening letters. Police are yet to arrest any suspects.
Female workers in the outskirts of Quetta have in the past complained to police about receiving threatening phone calls and letters from extremist groups.