Stronger laws to deal with acid crime urged -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Stronger laws to deal with acid crime urged

Violent attacks continue, the country lacks infrastructure to treat the victims.

ISLAMABAD: Nayla Farhat, 20, and Nusrat Bibi, 25, are two among many other acid crime victims living with a hope that one day a law will be passed in the country which will provide them with justice. They want to “punish the culprits, who committed the crime with them”.

They shared their ordeals at a workshop on ‘Media Reporting of Gender-Based Violence and Acid Attacks’ here on Thursday. The event was organised by Acid Survivors Foundation, in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The acid burn survivors said due to lack of proper legislation, people who threw acid on them are moving freely after ruining their lives.

Nusrat, from Muzaffargarh in the southern Punjab while sharing her story with The Express Tribune, said her husband along with his elder brother and sister-in-law threw acid at her on July 9, 2009.

“After preparing breakfast for my family I was laying in my room and they suddenly came in. My husband threw acid on my body from front, his brother on my face and his sister attacked from back,” she said.

She started screaming and later she was taken to the hospital by her neighbours.

“They were threatening me since the day I refused to marry my brother with my sister-in-law as he was in love with some other girl. They said that they will teach me a lesson which I will not forget throughout my life and so they did,” said Nusrat.

An FIR was registered with the local police station and a case was filed in the civil court and high court.

“My husband was arrested and had to spend 10 months jails. Later he was acquitted and now he is living a happy life with his family,” Nusrat said, adding that she later divorced him.

Her husband also managed to take away their three children but later she got them back through court orders. However, the children had to go back to their father, since the mother did have the finances to support them.

In another incident, Nayla, was an eighth grader when she was attacked by her teacher, and his friend, who wanted to marry her. The student from Layyah was “punished” for her refusal on, August 14, 2003, the day Pakistan turned 56 years old.

She filed a case against them in the civil court where the accused was fined Rs1.25 million and 12 years and three months imprisonment.

However, this was later reduced to Rs1.15 million and four year imprisonment by the Lahore High Court, Multan bench.

Thereafter, the dejected Nayla knocked at the door of Supreme Court where the Chief Justice retained the punishment sentenced by the civil court earlier.

Speakers at the workshop termed the existing legislation on acid burn crimes as inadequate and erroneous.

They said there is no law which specifically deals with acid crimes. As a result, burn cases are treated under normal categories of ‘hurt’ which do not recognise the extremely grievous consequences of burn violence for the victims. They urged that new legislation on burn crimes should be framed on the pattern of laws in Bangladesh.

They expressed concern over the lack of facilities for the treatment of burn victims.

The workshop was told that the incidence of acid violence was high in Pakistan. In May, this year about 36 cases were reported.

A report said that Pakistan tops the list of incidence of acid attacks on women with nearly 150 incidents all over the country every year of which about 50 occur in Balochistan. The report, “Acid Terrorism Against Women in Pakistan”, released by Asian Human rights Centre (AHRC), a non-government organisation, on December 12, 2009, presents some incidents of the horrific crime. “It shows the extent of the gender-based violence in Pakistan and the concrete consequences of the misogynist mindset which is spreading within the Pakistani middle-class,” the report added.

The easy availability of the acids in the open market can be one of the major reasons for the increasing incidences of the acid throwing on women.
Source: The Express Tribune