While the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 still awaits the approval of the president, two more young women became the victims of acid throwing in Surjani Town on Sunday.
According to DSP Abdul Fateh Sangri, the offender, identified as Kamran, threw acid on teenage girls, Zarin and Erum, at Erum’s house in Sector 5 D. They were taken to the burns ward of the Civil hospital. Zarin was treated and sent home while Erum, who was received more burns, will take at least 40 days to recover, after which she will undergo a surgery, according to Dr Dabeerur Rehman, the ward in charge.
According to Zarin’s family, the incident occurred when they went to Surjani Town – their old neighborhood for a visit.
“On our way we suspected that someone was following us,” said Zarin’s grandfather, Islamuddin. “So we got off at Erum’s house first because it was the nearest.” He said that the family had been sitting inside for a short while when there was a knock at the door. “Both the girls went to open the gate,” said the grandfather. “As soon as they opened the gate, Kamran threw acid on them and ran away.”
The intended target was Zarin, but Erum received most of the burns because she tried to stop Kamran by holding his hand and protect her friend.
Senior medico-legal officer, Dr Aftab Channar said that Erum sustained 25 per cent burns while Zarin sustained 15 per cent. Both the girls’ faces and foreheads were also affected.
Islamuddin said that Kamran, who also lived in the same neighbourhood as Erum, wanted to marry Zarin and also sent over marriage proposals twice, but the family refused because “she was still a teenager.”
The family had moved to Ayub Goth, near Sohrab Goth, around 1.5 years ago and had fixed Zarin’s marriage with someone else.
Kamran was picked up by the police on Sunday night. He confessed to the crime, said DSP Fateh Sangri. His defence was that the family compelled him to do it.
“I asked the family for Zarin’s hand in marriage repeatedly,” said Kamran. “But they always refused. Sometimes they would give the excuse of her age, sometimes different sects, and other times they said that she was studying. So, I decided that if she can’t be mine, she cannot be anyone else’s as well.” He insisted that Zarin’s family were equally punishable for the act as he was because they compelled him to act this way.
The police registered an FIR under the Pakistan Penal Code on Zarin’s request. The police said that they believed that Kamran had an accomplice. “He came in a rickshaw,” said DSP Sangri. “We are trying to find out who his aide was. We will present him to court after we arrest him.”
According to Sangri, the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill, passed by the parliament this year, calls for a prison term from 14 years to life imprisonment and fines of up to Rs1 million for the perpetrator of the crime.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2011.