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!
Posts Tagged ‘Foundation’
Say proposal was intended as a deterrent against attacks.
The original bill introduced by the group in the lower house last Tuesday had called for either the death penalty or life imprisonment as punishment.
Section 6 of the Acid Throwing and Burn Crime Bill, 2012 reads: “(1) Whoever commits or attempts to commit an offence of acid or burn attack shall: (i) if such act has resulted in the death of any person be punished with death or imprisonment for life; and; (ii) whoever intentionally causes hurt by Acid and Burn attack shall be punished with death or rigorous imprisonment for life.”
The group cited a growing number of acid throwing and burn crimes as the reason for suggesting the death penalty.
The bill has been referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice for fine tuning, and movers believe that the suggestion of capital punishment could trigger a new debate.
“The issue (punishment) will trigger a debate in the standing committee since the government is discouraging the death sentence,” said MNA Yasmeen Rehman while talking to The Express Tribune, on Saturday. “In my opinion, the punishment should not be the death sentence [for acid throwing crimes],” Rehman added.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also referred to the standpoint of her party’s government and said that the sentence is likely to change. “I think it (the death sentence) will be changed during the likely debate in the standing committee,” she said.
Justifying the proposal, she said that several people were of the view that there should be severe punishment for such heinous crimes. She added that, until recently, there was no punishment at all for the crimes and the proposal was intended as a deterrent to curb the growing number of acid throwing cases.
“We will try our level best to have the bill approved in the next session of the National Assembly,” said Wazir Ali.
However, MNA Riaz Fatiana was not upbeat about the fate of the bill, citing the approaching end of term for the incumbent National Assembly and the lengthy process every bill goes through before being passed.
Responding to a question regarding punishment of the crime, Fatiana also said he was opposed to awarding the death penalty in acid or burn crimes.
“How many people do you want to hang?” he questioned, referring to existing laws according to which crimes under anti-narcotics or robbery are tantamount to a death sentence. He also highlighted another piece of legislation on the subject and said the maximum punishment for the offence is 14-year imprisonment and the same should apply to this bill. Responding to a question on the moratorium on of death penalty by the PPP government, he said: “The president has neither pardoned those who have been awarded the death penalty nor has he implemented the sentence.”
The bill was jointly introduced by four members of the PPP Yasmeen Rehman, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Dr Nafisa Shah and Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, three members from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Dr Attiya Inaatullah, Riaz Fatyana and Humayun Saifullah Khan, and one member from the Muttahida Quami Movement Khush Bakht Shujaat.
Moved by Dr Attiya Inayatullah, the 35-clause bill provides guidelines for investigation, protection of witnesses, establishment of the acid and burn crime monitoring board as well as its responsibilities.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2012.
“When my sister, Shamim, tried to save me, Asif beat her too. When we shouted for help, Asif threw acid at us and fled,” says Rukhsana. PHOTO: FILE
Rukhsana told The Express Tribune that she was married to Asif five years ago. She said Asif was jobless and an alcoholic and would beat her. She said he would also force her to bring money from her parents.
“Around 10 days ago, I returned to my parents house,” she said.
She said her parents were away on Thursday evening when Asif came and beat her. “When my sister, Shamim, tried to save me, Asif beat her too. When we shouted for help, Asif threw acid at us and fled,” she said.
She said one of their neighbours took them to the Liaqatpur Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital.
A doctor who treated them at Liaqatpur THQ hospital told The Express Tribune that they had been transferred to Shaikh Zayed Hospital in Rahim Yar Khan to be treated for burns.
A doctor at Shaikh Zayed Hospital said Rukhsana had suffered injuries to her face and her body. Shamim had burns in the right eye, face and body. He said doctors were trying to save the eye.
Liaqatpur Station House Officer Mohammad Aslam said Mohammad Asif had yet to be arrested.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2013.
The overall cases of reported crimes, however, dropped by 12%. DESIGN: FAIZAN DAWOOD
ISLAMABAD: Cases of Violence against Women (VAW) may still number in the thousands in Pakistan, but the figures reported in 2012 dropped by 12% from the previous year, according to an annual report released by the Aurat Foundation on Wednesday. The report, however, highlighted that certain forms of violence, such as acid-throwing, have in fact increased since 2011.
A total of 7,516 cases were reported in 2012 compared to the 8,539 cases reported in 2011. Some 8,000 cases of VAW were reported in 2010, 8,548 cases in 2009 and 7,571 in 2008, respectively.
Breaking it down by province, out of the total cases reported this past year, 4,753 were reported from Punjab, 1,674 cases from Sindh, 159 cases from Balochistan, 674 cases from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and 281 cases were reported from Islamabad.
Numbers and crimes
The crimes most reported in 2012 were of abduction and kidnapping, with 1,607 such cases recorded all over the country. The second most commonly reported crime was murder, with 1,747 cases reported. Additionally, 989 cases of domestic violence were reported last year.
Disturbingly, there was also a high prevalence of rape and gang rape in the country, with cases numbering 820.
574 suicides and 432 cases of honour killings were reported as well as 83 incidents of acid throwing and 63 cases of sexual assault.
The miscellaneous category – which includes attempted suicide, torture, injury, attempt to murder, attempted rape, threat to life, harassment, attempt to kidnap, illegal custody, trafficking, vanni, forced marriage, child marriage, incest, attempt at karo kari and watta satta— added up to a total of 1,201 cases.
Despite the numbers
Although the total number of reported cases of VAW has decreased by 12%, analysis shows that several forms of violence have in fact increased. One form which shows a significant increase in reported cases is acid throwing, with a staggering 89% increase, followed by domestic violence reaching 62%, burning at 33% and murder at 11%.
The crimes that decreased in 2012 compared to 2011 were sexual assault crimes (43% decrease), honour killings (39% decrease), suicide (24% decrease) and abduction or kidnapping (23% decrease).
From Punjab and Islamabad, abduction was frequently reported, whereas from Sindh, Balochistan and K-P, murder was the most frequent crime.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2013.
An acid attack on a woman is most often linked to her honour, or lack thereof, and almost always destroys her life. PHOTO: FILE
Statistics on violence against women make for a depressing read in Pakistan and this year is no exception. Though a report by the Aurat Foundation states the reported cases of violence against women in 2012 saw a drop of 12 per cent from the previous year, cases of acid attacks saw a whopping increase of 89 per cent in the same period. This is a horrific figure made gloomier by the realisation that this all happened despite the passing in 2011 of two laws deemed pro-women: The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill and The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Bill. Laws are supposed to act as deterrents to crime and while one cannot expect them to immediately arrest heinous acts overnight, a spike of 89 per cent in a year is rather extraordinary. Perhaps, it explains why a group of nine MPAs from the ruling coalition presented a bill last month calling for the death penalty for those found guilty of carrying out acid attacks. They also asked that investigation of an acid attack be completed within a fortnight of a case being filed and a trial be conducted in a week, adding that if the investigating officer is found negligent, he be fined or punished for two years. That lawmakers would consider something as drastic as capital punishment, perhaps, indicates their level of frustration at being unable to find a way to tackle this crime that has placed Pakistan as one of the nations with the highest incidents of acid attacks in the world — with an Oscar for a documentary on the subject to prove it.
Perhaps where the frustration lies is in societal attitudes, nay obsession, towards honour. An acid attack on a woman is most often linked to her honour, or lack thereof, and almost always destroys her life. Those who work in rehabilitating the lives of survivors truly deserve accolades. However, laws alone cannot bring about change. Gender equality must be inculcated from an early age and tolerance for all views trumpeted, for that can serve as a powerful deterrent.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2013.
11 December 2012
Australia supports Human Rights NGOs in Pakistan
To mark International Human Rights Day, Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward announced major human rights funding grants to the Acid Survivors Foundation and the Jinnah Institute under Australia’s Human Rights Grants Scheme.
Both groups will receive A$100,000 (PKR10 million) towards their important projects.
Australia supports civil society organisations and human rights institutions in 126 countries including Pakistan through the Human Rights Grants Scheme. In Pakistan, past projects supported by the scheme include interfaith harmony, enhanced religious understanding, child rights and awareness about forced marriages.
Mr Heyward commended the excellent work of the Acid Survivors Foundation and the Jinnah Institute in the field of human rights.
“These organisations are a testament to the vibrancy of civil society in Pakistan and I particularly admire the dedication these groups have to eliminating violence against women and promoting strong human rights principles throughout the country and the region.”
He said the Acid Survivors Foundation has been working tirelessly to provide care and rehabilitation to acid-attack victims. The new funding will assist the Foundation to help victims seek legal recourse by ensuring that there is nation-wide awareness and implementation of the recent legislative changes against acid-based violence.
The Australian High Commission is also supporting the Jinnah Institute in its efforts to advocate for the inclusion of positive human rights messages and awareness of internationally accepted human rights standards in middle and high school curricula.
The High Commissioner took the opportunity to congratulate Pakistan on its recent election to the UN Human Rights Council and hoped Australia and Pakistan would continue their productive relationship and dialogue at the UN Security Council next year when Australia took up its non-permanent seat alongside Pakistan.
“Australia will continue to be a strong advocate for human rights, interfaith harmony and for the rights of women and girls in Pakistan and play an active role in providing for basic human rights including education and health assistance for some of Pakistan’s most remote and marginalised communities,” Mr Heyward said.