Risky business: Acids being traded like sherbet

Business of dangerous acids continues unchecked in various parts of the city.

Mudassir Raja May 27, 2011


The sale of different kinds of dangerous acids has been going on unchecked in most parts of the city as the rules regulating the sale of the hazardous substance are being violated with impunity, it has been learnt.

A survey of the city areas including Hamilton Road, Ghazni Road, Bagh Sardaran, Bangash Colony, Pirwadhai, Dhok Dalal, Kurri Road, Adam Jee Road and Misrial Road has revealed that unauthorised and unsafe sale of different acids including highly inflammable liquids has been going on unchecked.

Some of the most dangerous acids being sold in open market include sulfuric acid, sodium bi-carbonate and butane oil. These acids are considered highly inflammable and can be used for malicious purposes, like attacks on women and terrorist acts. Last week a man Muhammed Irfan threw acid on her wife Nagina Bibi in Shahzad Town of the federal capital after she refused to withdraw a plea submitted to a local court seeking divorce.

A report said that Pakistan tops the list of incidence of acid attacks on women with nearly 150 incidents of nationally every year of which about 50 occur in Balochistan. A report, entitled “Acid Terrorism Against Women in Pakistan”, released by Asian Human rights Centre (AHRC), a non-government organisation on December 12, 2009.

The report presents some incidents of the horrific crime. “It shows the extent of the gender-based violence in Pakistan and the concrete consequences of the misogynist mindset which is spreading within the Pakistani middle-class,” the report added.

The easy availability of the acids in the open market can be one of the major reasons for the increasing incidences of the acid throwing on women, the official said.

It also shows the flagrant violation of the laws by the influential people involved in the acid trade in connivance with the enforcers of the law. There are certain laws to regulate the business of acids in the open market but the authorities concerned seem oblivious of it.

“Every acid dealer has to get a licence from the district administration to deal in the commodity but over 90 per cent trade in the city is being done illegally,” said an official of Civil Defence Department.

After getting the permission for sale of the acids from the district government the dealers and stockers have to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from Civil Defence for their safe handling and storing.

An official on the condition of anonymity told The Express Tribune that no dealer has ever applied to obtain the necessary certificate from the Civil Defence.

“The unlicensed trade is extremely dangerous, as unsafe storage of the highly inflammable acids could result in a disaster especially in the thickly populated areas,” he said.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zaffar was contacted to ask about government’s steps to either check or regulate the dangerous business, he sought time to learn about the rules and laws.

The head of the district government seemed ignorant about the relevant rules regulating the acid trade and said he needed some time to get the exact information on the issue from the concerned officials.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2011.


Meena | 11 years ago | Reply its not butain ...... it is written as butane
Fayaz Shah | 11 years ago | Reply I think easy availability of hazardous items is not necessarily cause of Pakistan toping in the list of accid attack incidences. I read somewhere that in some of the countries there are not very much strict laws to aquire a firearm but still people of those civilized nations does not use the weapons very much openely in streets. I guess, to reach at the route cause, government needs to educate peoples properly so that they could distinguish between wright and wrong. Furthermore, there must be strict laws to counter any type of illegal activities. Not like we are practicing in Pakistan as we are having laws which are not being followed, in that case, i will suggest that simply iliminate that law which government could not follow.
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