Lawmakers agree on stringent laws on acid crimes

Published: March 27, 2012

Fakhra Yunus, had been allegedly attacked by her husband Bilal Khar. She had jumped to her death in Rome in March 2012.

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.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • yusuf
    Mar 27, 2012 - 11:48PM

    Parliament moved over suicide of one woman! Now can we have a week long discussion over eight innocent deaths in Karachi today??????

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  • Mar 28, 2012 - 12:34AM

    the real problem lies with in the implementation of these laws

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  • Jibran
    Mar 28, 2012 - 12:50AM

    Crimes against women should not be left at the mercy of local police for investigation. Government should made it mandatory to have IB involved in all such cases, and should provide a hotline for reporting such crimes.

    Such cases must be prosecuted under anti-terror laws.

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  • MarkH
    Mar 28, 2012 - 3:40AM

    They should assign police trusted babysitters for a few months whose job is to monitor whether or not they’re doing their job.
    …Though motives, due to the timing of it, are probably more or less public point scoring in nature.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Mar 28, 2012 - 7:04AM

    An eye for an eye. Acid burn for acid burn – that is the way of Islam. Go for it and ammend the punishment accordingly. Oone or two men with acid burnt faces should create a lot of discourage future acid throwers.

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  • Cautious
    Mar 28, 2012 - 7:49AM

    You want to change the culture of “acid throwers” – then sentence them to castration followed by permanently dyeing their face bright red so the World will forever know their crime.

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  • Hamid Khan, Lahore
    Mar 29, 2012 - 1:52AM

    What a horrible mistreatment of this woman! In this male-dominated feudal society the country’s rich and powerful appear to operate with impunity. And these folks call themselves followers of Islam, while sipping whiskey in their privacy and mistreating women? Disgusting!

    Twelve years after the acid-throwing incident, the Parliament finally woke up from its slumber to pass a resolution, but notice, the passing of a law to punish acid-throwers is yet to come. Do you want to bet, after the disgust against this crime fades away, nobody will want to talk about passing such a law. Even more disgusting!

    Does this make PAKs proud of what happened? Imagine what the rest of the world thinks of PAK

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