Aims to curb violence
RUBINA NAZIR CHOHAN
Female parliamentarians have taken commendable steps on preparing a bill against acid attacks, writes RUBINA NAZIR CHOHAN
The government has taken a commendable step in constituting a law against the inhuman act of acid attack especially on females.
The credit goes to Marvi Memon and other parliamentarians for representing common women of the country such sensitive issue. But the real problem lies in implementation. The female parliamentarians have taken a correct step, at the most important time, to protect the most vulnerable segment of society from such brutal acts.
Four legislators from different political parties recently submitted legislation to the Secretariat of the National Assembly suggesting that the culprits of the acid attack should receive severe punishment for the heinous act. The legislation states that, ?Disfiguring the faces and organs of the fellow human beings is like stigmatising them for life.? PML-Q MNA Marvi Memon mentioned that the bill suggests punishing the acid attackers with life imprisonment, fining them or punishing them with both. Marvi is the principal instigator of the bill. Other concerned people who have supported the bill include Shehnaz Wazir Ali, PPP MNA, Anushay Rehman Khan, PML-N MNA, and Shehnaz Sheikh, PML-Q MNA.
Acid attack had become a routine act in the rural male dominated society of our country wherein women fall an easy prey to the barbarism of men. Sometimes males attack their own family members including their sisters, daughters, and cousins accusing them of having doubtful character. Acid attacks were also rampant when young girls refused to get married forcefully.
Valerie Khan Yousafzai, Executive Director of Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) said that the acid attacks have been on a rise in Southern Punjab as acids were used in various sections of agriculture as Southern Punjab is the cotton belt. Around 91.8 percent of the incidents occur in Punjab while no case has been reported in Balochistan.
Since year 2007, 276 cases of acid attacks have been reported while only 38 percent FIRs have been registered and 68 percent cases were not registered.
In 2009, 12 women were killed by their husbands and 15 others fell victim to male violence in different incidents. On April 20, Umar killed his 35-year-old wife Aasia Bibi for giving birth to a daughter in jurisdiction of Liaqatabad police station. Arshad of Johar Town, Lahore poisoned his wife Razia Bibi on May 8, over a family dispute. Ahsan Elahi of Model Town shot dead his wife Shazi on May 26, Meer Ali burned to death his 21-year-old wife Kiran Shehzadi on June 23, when she refused to give him Rs 50,000 she had taken from her parents. On July 23, a 21-year-old woman was burnt by her in-laws, who was later thrown on the road in Johar Town. Edhi officials shifted her to the hospital in critical conditions where she died. Umar of Sabzazar killed his wife for objecting to his second marriage. On August 18, Ashiq, a former army man shot dead his wife Haneefa over domestic issues in Millat Park police precincts. On August 20, Javed Masih of Shahdara killed his wife Aasia by mutilating her with a pair of scissors. Nadeem shot dead his wife and three-year-old daughter, and then committed suicide in Bhatti Police precincts on September 17. The reasons behind these murders are still unknown.
On August 13, Irshad killed his wife Sobia in Iqbal Town police precincts. Sagheer along with his brothers killed his wife Shazia over a family dispute on September 24. Ali Raza shot dead his 20-year-old wife Kulsoom in Sabzazar police precincts on November 30, because she had filed for divorce. On April 10, Nadeem Abbas along with two accomplices chopped hands and legs of his 23-year-old wife Fauzia. On June 16, Zohaib shot dead his 22-year-old Qaisra Babar. On October 25, Rashid killed the 35-year-old Robina, wife of his employer Saleem, for firing him from work in Samanabad police precincts. On November 15, 24-year-old unmarried Tasleem died at a hospital in North Cantt police precincts during an abortion surgery. On June 5, Amjad and Sher Khan shot dead Ruby and her husband Habibur Rehman over enmity. On July 8, an unidentified person killed 18-year-old Saima in Rivaz Gardens.
On November 15, a 13-year-old girl was killed in crossfire between two groups in South Cantt police precincts. On February 20, unidentified persons at their home in Hunjerwala police precincts strangled an elderly woman Hanifa Bibi and her 10-year-old grandson Tahir. The motive for the murders is still unknown. On July 23, 40-year-old advocate Safia Jabeen died after being shot by unidentified persons at the railway station. On July 29, unidentified men axed to death Sughra Bibi, a labourer at a brick kiln – in Raiwind for unknown reasons. On September 14, three women of a family were found dead in their house in Gole Bagh, Shadbagh police precincts. The victims were identified as 17-year-old Sana, her 35-year-old mother Tasneem Bibi and her 65-year-old maternal grandmother Mumtaz Bibi.
The Bill being presented before the National Assembly, after becoming law, will prove a shelter for the vulnerable people of society. Terming the acid attack as a crime against humanity, Marvi said the Bill was entitled as ?Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act, 2009? and is likely to be tabled on Private Members’ Day in National Assembly session.
The Bill aims at amending various Acts and Codes in relation to protection against acid crimes, and rehabilitation of and compensation for victims of acid crimes.
In the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (Act XLV of 1860), section 332 sub-section (1) shall be amended. The word ?Hurt? would mean ?Whoever causes pain, harm, disease, infirmity or injury to any person or impairs, disables, disfigures, defaces or dismembers any organ of the body or any part thereof of any person without causing his death, is said to cause hurt,? Marvi said referring to the bill.
Insertion of Section 336A, Act XLV of 1860 in the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (Act XLV of 1860), after section 336, a new Sections 336A and 336B shall be inserted, 336A – voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means or substances. ?Whoever voluntarily causes hurt by means of fire or any heated substance, or by means of any poison or any corrosive substance or acid, or by means of any explosive or arsenic substance or by means of any substance which is deleterious to the human body to come into contact with, to inhale, to swallow, or to receive into the blood is said to cause hurt by dangerous means or substances.? The punishment for causing hurt by dangerous means or substances would mean ?Whoever, by doing any act with the intention of causing hurt to any person, or with the intention that he is likely to cause hurt to any person, causes hurt by dangerous means or substances to any person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to life, or with fine which may not be less than five hundred thousand rupees, or with both.?
After presenting the Bill in National Assembly, now it needs the formation of law, the day it becomes ‘law’, it needs implementation, then the fair sex and innocent kids could be saved from such inhuman acts of acid attacks.
The Bill also provides strict monitoring of licenses issuance against acid sellers including pharmaceutical chemist, who should be notified by Provincial government in the official gazette.
?Whosoever breaches any condition of a license granted to him under Section 2A, shall be punishable under law. On a first conviction, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to Rs100,000, or with both, and on a second and subsequent conviction, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to Rs200,000, or with both,’ added Marvi Memon.
The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act 2009 acts as an important tool to safeguard the rights of acid burn survivors and the people of Pakistan in general against atrocious and heinous crimes.