KARACHI: A district and sessions court has handed down a 14-year rigorous imprisonment to a man who threw acid on his wife.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (Central) Zabiha Khattak of the gender-based court convicted Shabbir Ahmed for throwing acid on his wife, Hajra Bibi, 28, who had suffered over five per cent burns on her body.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs1 million. The convict would undergo an additional six-month imprisonment in case of default on payment.

Emphasising the severity of the offence, the judge said, “Burning someone with acid is a bigger crime than murder.” She noted that the medical report confirmed the survivor’s injuries as a result of acid burns.

According to state prosecutor Hina Naz, the complainant, stated to police that in the early hours of June 9, 2021, her grandson, who resided nearby in Zarina Colony, informed her that his father had thrown a bottle of acid at his mother (the survivor) before fleeing from the scene.

The complainant, the survivor’s mother, accompanied by neighbours, rushed to her daughter’s house and found her lying on the floor. She immediately contacted the police and took her daughter to the Burns Ward of Civil Hospital Karachi for treatment, while also lodged a case at the Khawaja Ajmair Nagir police station against the accused under Section 336-B (punishment for hurt by corrosive substance) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

A week later, law enforcers apprehended the accused and gathered statements from witnesses in the neighbourhood.

The survivor recounted before the court that she had been married to her cousin for over a decade and was the mother of six children. She said that she had been supporting her family by working as a domestic worker.

In her testimony, she recounted a harrowing ordeal, stating that a month before the incident, her husband had allegedly attempted to kill her with a knife and a chopper; however, her mother, who was present there, intervened and saved her.

She further disclosed that she had previously approached the police station to file a complaint against her husband. However, in the presence of family members, he [husband] had assured her that such incidents would not recur, and on his assurance, she forgave him at that time.

She also mentioned discovering a bottle of acid in their washroom two days prior to the attack while cleaning the area.

During the trial, the defence counsel argued that his client, who was a security guard, was not present at the scene when the incident occurred.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2024

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