ISLAMABAD: The “Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill” will be tabled before the National Assembly in September, announced Yasmeen Rehman, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Women Development.
She was addressing participants of the second national consultation on the draft bill organised by Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) here on Thursday.
Yasmeen said the final draft of the bill will be submitted to the Ministry of Women (MoW) by the ASF in the first week of August and then will be sent to the law ministry for vetting.
She said that the bill recommended two years imprisonment and fine on those people who sell acid to the public without ‘proper procedure’.
The participants suggested life imprisonment or a fine of at least Rs500,000 for the person who uses acid as a weapon.
Yasmeen recommend that cases of acid burn survivors be dealt under the special Ombudsperson that will be created in the near future to deal with harassment cases.
She was of the view that the acid burn victims takes months or years to recover; therefore in the beginning they are not in a position to attend the regular court proceedings. “Going to the Ombudsperson for speedy justice can be a great help for them,” she maintained.
Yasmeen further said that that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had given directives to the MoW concerning the Ombudsperson.
Every year a large number of females are victim to acid throwing incidents and are later condemned by their families and the society. She said it is the responsibility of the whole nation to unite against such criminals who destroy the life of these women and their families.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Mughees Amin, a social activist from Bahawalpur said that the majority of such incidents take place in southern Punjab where acid is used to prepare cotton seed.
“Among 53 reported cases of acid burn in the year 2009, 41 were from Southern Punjab,” he recalled. Highly concentrated acid is available freely in the area commonly known as ‘Seraiki Belt.’ He said that not many people are aware of the fact that damage can be controlled to a great extent only if the victim is immediately irrigated with plain or saline water as it helps to dilute the impact of the acid.
Executive Director ASF Valarie Khan said that acid violence is an international problem and incidences of such attacks can be found in diverse parts of the world.
She said that although the acid burn cases account for only a fraction of overall cases of domestic violence in Pakistan, it is one of the most torturous and debilitating form of violence.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2010.