PHC seeks federal regulation on sale, purchase of acid

Published October 9, 2013
— File photo
— File photo

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday asked the federal government to make amendments to laws in order to regulate the illegal and open sale and purchase of acid.

Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Justice Dost Muhammad Khan was hearing a case pertaining to the bail application of a suspect detained by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) or transporting chemicals which it said was not used in preparing narcotics or acid.

The chief justice observed that parliament had enacted law for curtailing acid throwing incidents, but there was a considerable vacuum in that law resulting in increase in such cases.

During the hearing, the chief justice observed that on several occasions, the high court had issued directives to the federal government for checking the growing use of acid in violence against women adding that leaders legislate day in and out for their own interests, but do not implement court orders.

He also directed the federal government to make amendments to the law to regulate the acid business by specifying who will issue licenses for acid sale and who can sell and purchase acid and under what conditions.

Earlier in June, a young Pashto actress Bushra had suffered critical burn injuries after a local TV drama producer allegedly threw acid on her while she was asleep in her home, her family members had claimed.

Acid attacks are seen to be on the rise in northwest Pakistan. Bushra was only among the most recent victim of such attacks.

In year 2012, 150 acid attack cases were registered in Pakistan, 30 of which were reported from KP's Mardan district alone.

According to the Islamabad-based NGO, Acid Survivors Foundation, the data shows an upward trend in this form of violence targeting women. Some 45 per cent of the acid attacks are the result of family feuds while 17 per cent are linked to refusals to marriage proposals.

Moreover, a report by the Aurat Foundation released in January 2013 said that although the total number of reported cases of violence against women had decreased by 12 per cent, a deeper analysis showed a significant 89 per cent increase in cases of acid-throwing, followed by a 62 per cent rise in domestic violence.

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