ISLAMABAD: The Parliament on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution seeking “comprehensive and dedicated laws” against anyone found guilty of throwing acid on human beings. Though not entirely without controversy, as the name of Bilal Khar, the alleged proponent in Fakhra Younus case, was struck from the records.
The joint session of the National Assembly and Senate adopted the resolution after parliamentarians demanded “legal action” be taken against the main accused for throwing acid on Fakhra Younus.
“The House also strongly recommends that a comprehensive and dedicated law on acid crimes be passed at the federal/provincial levels,” the resolution stressed. The first of its kind resolution on acid crime victims, it had been moved under Rule 157 of Parliamentary business further asserted that the federal and provincial governments must commit to provide state funded treatment, healthcare and rehabilitation programme for victims of acid crimes.
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (likeminded) MNA Kashmala Tariq had moved the resolution. In it she wrote: “We (lawmakers) demand that those culprits who defaced Mst. Fakhra and ruined her life be indentified and punished forthwith and a transparent enquiry be ordered as to why the culprits were not earlier identified or punished.”
Speaker National Assembly Dr Fahmida Mirza, however, on request of some lawmakers deleted the name of Bilal Khar, who had allegedly thrown acid on his then-wife Younus in 2000. The victim had committed suicide in Italy on March 17, 2012.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik also urged the House to issue strict order whereby laws to check sale and purchase of acid in the market would be enforced. This, the Interior Minister hoped, “might be the first step to prevent such heinous crimes in the society.”
Lawmakers also requested the speaker to refer Younus’ case to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights for a probe. The lawmakers from both the treasury and opposition benches demanded for trial of the person who was responsible for throwing acid on Younus.
Some lawmakers were of the view that the punishment prescribed by Pakistan’s penal code for acid crime perpetrators was insufficient and recommended that the maximum penalty should include capital punishment, if the Parliament agreed.
Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Nafeesa Shah and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA Anusha Rehman requested NA Speaker to give her ruling for all acid victims and “not to generalise the matter.” They stressed on the review of some clauses related to “The Domestic Violence Bill, 2009”, which is likely to be presented in the Parliament this week.
On Tuesday, Domestic Violence Bill, 2009 was on the agenda of the day but could not be taken up till the session adjourned for Wednesday.
“Member-in-Charge, MNA Yasmeen Rehman will move the Bill to make provisions for protection against domestic violence, as passed by the National Assembly and not passed the Senate within ninety days, be taken into consideration at once, the agenda read.
It is also pertinent to mention here that the Senate has already unanimously passed a bill that imposes strict punishments on those who attack women with acid. The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill stipulates a maximum prison term of life, with fines of up to Rs1 million for the perpetrator of the crime.