Do you remember? In April 2012, we told you about the Pakistan-Italy Debt Swap Agreement that was signed to build a burn center along with a rehabilitation center for acid and burn survivors in Multan in collaboration with Nishtar hospital: well this has now become a reality and ASF-Pakistan is now setting up its coordination office to start the project there…Stay tuned and see the progress!
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Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan expresses its concern that Acid violence is not only spreading but evolving in its patterns; the comprehensive legislation which proposes a mechanism aiming to reinforce the law enforcement mechanism is one of the key answer to this horrific issue. To fight patriarchal mindsets and enhance the social disapproval for violence against women and girls, right budget allocations, awareness, education and JUDICIAL CONDEMNATION is essential. We expect the perpetrators to be punished after due legal and judiciary process, but we also expect the Pakistani government to fulfill its commitment and make sure that the COMPREHENSIVE ACID AND BURN CRIME BILL GET TABLED IN ICT and in other provincial assemblies…
Girl killed in Pakistani-administered Kashmir acid attack
By Zulfiqar Ali BBC Urdu, Islamabad
A mother and father in Pakistani-administered Kashmir have been arrested for murdering their 15-year-old daughter by dousing her with acid “in the name of an honour”, police say.
They say it is one of the first such cases of its kind in the region.
Honour killings happen when mostly male family members believe the victim has brought dishonour to their community.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported 943 women were killed in honour killings last year.
That represented an increase of more than 100 from 2010.
But such happenings are rare in parts of Kashmir under the control of Pakistan.
Police say that the incident took place in a remote village in the southern district of Kotli. They say that the case was brought to their attention by the couple’s eldest daughter.
It will not be clear until Friday – when the parents are due in court – if they admit or deny murder charges.
Local police officer Raja Tahir Ayub told the BBC that the girl’s father became enraged when he saw his daughter “looking at two boys” riding on a motorcycle outside their home on Monday.
Police say that the parents suspected she was having illicit relations with one of the pair.
“He took his daughter inside, beat her up and then poured acid over her with the help of his wife,” Mr Ayub said.
Police say that that the couple did not take their daughter to hospital until the next morning, and she succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday evening.
The head of the state-run district hospital in Kotli – Muhammad Jahangir – confirmed the death.
He said that the girl was brought to hospital in a serious condition with more than 35% burns.
“There was no way she could survive,” he said.
Police say that the dead girl’s married elder sister informed them of the alleged incident on Wednesday morning.
They say that she became suspicious when her parents did not allow mourners to see the face of the dead girl before she was buried – otherwise a normal practise in Kashmiri Muslim society.
In March the government of Pakistani-administered Kashmir made acid attacks a criminal offence punishable with life imprisonment.
All ASFs of the world got together in Nepal in June 2012 in order to develop strategic plan for the next 3 years. The synergy is on and an alliance of all ASF is now being established, because, together,we can do more.
Best experiences were also shared to learn from each other and see how to provide relevant inputs, identify commonalities and differences. A new momentum was born!
The most beautiful woman in her village, Shama, who was attacked by her husband in her sleep, is determined to start anew. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL
ISLAMABAD: Covered in bandages, Shama’s wounds are still fresh after surgery to treat acid burns inflicted by her husband of 10 years.
“The habit of covering my face with a pillow when I sleep saved it from burns,” said Shama, who is the mother of four children, two boys and two girls, at the age of 24.
Living at the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), while she recuperates from surgery performed at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital Rawalpindi, Shama said the horrific incident ruined her life. But she is not ready to give up.
Shama was asleep at her home in Sadiqabad in Multan when her husband, Maqsood Ahmed, poured acid on her in the middle of the night. Shama was burnt from the neck down to her waist. This was seven weeks ago.
“He was jealous of my beauty,” she said. She had recently won a beauty pageant, and was considered to be the most beautiful girl in her village.
“People used to say we look like father and daughter and he couldn’t handle that,” she added. Ahmed is 17 years older than Shama.
Unsure of what to do, Shama lay in pain till sunrise. She then went to the nearest PCO and called Rescue 1122. Although she underwent surgeries in Nishtar Hospital, Multan, her wounds did not heal.
At the time she was working in marketing and sales with a company in Multan. “While all the other girls used makeup, I got compliments for looking beautiful without it.”
But now she won’t be going back to her old job. “Being physically attractive is part of my job and I’ve lost my self-confidence.”
Her family has asked Shama to reconcile with Ahmed for her children’s sake. “He broke my trust,” she said wiping her tears, “I will go back and begin a new life without him.”
Ahmed, meanwhile, continues to roam about freely.
Shama’s case is not alone. There are many instances in which the perpetrators continue to evade the law, while their victims live in agony. The law on acid was amended last December and passed by the Senate, said Muhammad Khan from ASF, but even though acid throwing is now criminalised, with a minimum sentence of 14 years to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs1 million, some concerns need to be addressed.
Khan said investigation into the crime should be completed within a number of days determined by a judge. “In case that does not happen, a board should be set up to look into the delay.”
Surgery is very costly, for which funds should be made available from Baitul Mal, he added. “The sale of acid to farmers is something that needs to be more strictly regulated.”
Khan said the ASF will now set up awareness camps to inform people how to control damage from acid burns. “You should immediately pour as much water as you can on the parts of the body affected by acid to control the damage,” he said.
All healthcare units should be bound by law to care for an acid victim as a priority case without demanding an FIR and help in reporting the crime, he suggested. The number of acid victims has been on the rise with each passing year, despite laws to check the crime. Most acid attacks are reported from southern Punjab and Sindh, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2012.