Cases involving acid and burn crimes should be heard by anti-terrorism courts, participants of a provincial consultation on developing legislation for the victims of such crimes said on Tuesday.
The Dastak Charitable Trust had arranged the consultation to discuss and add suggestions to the draft of a bill, titled the Acid and Burn Crime Act 2014, before it is sent to the Provincial Assembly for needful action. The participants were of the view that Sections 336-A and 336-B of the Act were insufficient to deal with the heinous crime. The Acid Survivor Foundation has prepared the draft in collaboration with the Saad Rasool Law Associates. Advocate Saad Rasool said the Act would help treat acid or burn incidents not only as a crime but as a social issue.
“It will generate a huge debate. The participants have agreed to need for improving the draft,” he said.
He called for assigning a special prosecutor to deal with cases involving acid and burn attacks. The prosecutor, he said, should be specifically trained for the purpose.
Rasool said the state should support the victims financially. It should also ensure their rehabilitation, he said. “The state should ensure that victims of such crimes are integrated into society,” he said.
He favoured a high-powered board to oversee and ensure implementation of the law.
Rasool said a witness protection programme should be introduced to ensure that case proceeding went unhindered. He said those providing medical assistance to victims should be required to inform police about their condition.
Advocate Sabahat Rizvi said acid and burn crimes could be reduced if the related cases were taken up by anti-terrorism courts.
Rizvi said Sections 336-A and 336-B were insufficient to deal with the heinous crime.
Humayun Taimoor Baig, a forensic odontologist, said occupational hazard should also be included in the bill. He said the bill should also cover victims of gas inhaling at factories. Under the bill, he said, victims of acid and burn crimes would be treated as disabled as defined by The Disable Person (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance, 1981. He said the acid-throwing should be declared a non-bailable offence.
The participants said such cases should not be probed by an officer of no less than ASP rank. The draft of the bill provides that an officer not less than the rank of an SHO should deal with such cases.
They stressed the need for establishing burn units in hospital of all districts.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2014.