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FAMILIES of acid attack victims and civil society activists protest near the Sindh Assembly building on Friday.—White Star
FAMILIES of acid attack victims and civil society activists protest near the Sindh Assembly building on Friday.—White Star

KARACHI: Several human rights activists were joined by families of victims at a demonstration near the Sindh Assembly building on Friday to protest recent acid attack cases and the non-implementation of the Acid Control and Crime Prevention Bill-2010 passed by the National Assembly in May 2011.

Six-month-old Mohammad Hadi with deep scars left by acid burns on the left side of his face was in his 19-year-old aunt Rahila Rahim’s lap when they threw acid on her face. Rahila was severely injured and deformed in the attack. Her assailant was her ex-fiancé, angry at her refusing to marry him.

Rahila’s family along with infant nephew were present at the demonstration. Her sister Nausheen Aftab, the baby’s mother, said that he was scarred for life. Meanwhile, Rahila, the real target of the heinous attack, has lost one eye and her face is unrecognisable. “She can barely see from her good eye, too. She was a very pretty girl. We can’t bear to see her now,” her sister said.

Another victim Sidra’s mother, Kaniz Bano, said her daughter was just going somewhere with her sister when they were approached by a boy in their Baldia Town neighbourhood. “He asked Sidra to marry him and when she told him to get lost, he threw acid on her. My daughter’s entire face is destroyed with her losing sight in one eye,” the mother said.

“We are poor people. My husband is dead and we don’t have any other male family members. Me and my other daughter are taking care of Sidra now and can’t keep our regular jobs either,” she added.

Farzana, mother of 15-year-old Zakia, another acid attack victim, said that her daughter was doing laundry at home and she herself was out for grocery shopping while her husband was at his job when four men and three women sneaked inside their home from the door left open by their younger children playing in the street. “They caught my daughter unawares when they threw acid on her face. They were upset when we turned down their marriage proposal as their son was much older and divorced. The boy, his father, brothers, sisters and mother all came. One by one all are being arrested but my daughter’s entire life is ruined,” the mother cried.

A fourth case highlighted by the protesters was that of air hostess Zainab. There, too, she had refused a marriage proposal.

The protesters raised slogans about acid being cheaper than flour here. “It’s so easily accessible. The shops selling it don’t even think twice. We want it sold under licence only with the buyers also submitting a copy of their national identity card to the sellers,” said Erum Javed of the Aurat Foundation.

“These four acid attack cases happened over a period of two months only. The victims are facing a fate worse than death,” she added. “We want the toughest punishments for the attackers.”

Abida Ali of Piler said that they had especially come to protest in front of the Sindh Assembly building because they wanted the respected members of the provincial assembly to turn their attention to this very serious issue. But the gates to the road leading to the assembly building were closed and the police didn’t allow them to go any further.

The protesters, belonging to various organisations, including Aurat Foundation, Women’s Action Forum, URC, HRCP, SPO, Hands, Piler, War Against Rape, Shirkat Gah, PMA, National Organisation for Working Committee, PFF, The Law Society Pakistan and Asian Human Rights, demanded from the Sindh government to arrange a Rs1,000,000 in compensation for each victim. They said the victims were not very well off and needed money for their medical expenses. They also deserved a fresh start in life and could use some help in starting some new work or small business in order to earn a decent living.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2015

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Comments (9) Closed



agent X Aug 08, 2015 09:09am

An eye for an eye acid throwers should be punished by the same and only then this menace can be eradicated.

thinker Aug 08, 2015 09:25am

Agree with you Agent x. Throw acid same way on the culprits only then the justice will be served

Shoaib Aug 08, 2015 09:35am

I cried when I saw this. I feel very sorry for the women but oh that poor little baby. I mean what kind of an animal can do such a thing? Beyond words.

Cyrus Aug 08, 2015 10:43am

What can be more ignorant? What can be so unfair?

ARSHAD HUSSAIN Aug 08, 2015 10:46am

That is the result of our loose gripped Media and blind parents. We have already left behind our ethics too far.

bharath Aug 08, 2015 11:58am

if a bill is passed in the National Assembly does it need to be implemented again by the provincial assembly ?? Then what is the use of passing the bill in the National Assembly ?

ksyed Aug 08, 2015 02:39pm

what a apathy of our society. some one has ruined the entire life of a human being and government is compensating by just giving few pennies to the victim. Punishment for such crime should be life time imprisonment along with the treatment of the victim and yes an eye for an eye.

waqar ali khan Aug 08, 2015 09:16pm

Purchase and sale of acid should be controlled and regulated.

Maria Yaseen Aug 10, 2015 12:09pm

There should be amendments in laws regarding punishment of criminals who are involved in such heinous and inhuman acts. A new bill should be passed soon as possible sp that no other girl in future would become victim of such brutal and nefarious act. The punishment should not be life time imprisonment rather it should be based on full justice by throwing acid on the criminal and let him go through the same sufferings and misery so that other people would shiver even while thinking to harm someone by throwong acid. It's high time major political partoes should check in this matter seriously and passed some bill or resolution amending the law about the sentence of the culprits. It's also the responsibilty of media to highlight these issues until the criminal meet there fate. And to curb whether Govt is taking some measures for acid victims or not.