Pakistani lawmakers have passed a landmark bill criminalizing acid attacks and burn-related violence. The bill was proposed by Federal Minister Marvi Memon in the National Assembly and got the support from the opposition as well.
Once passed by the upper house, Senate, the acid attack victims will be provided free treatment and much-needed rehabilitation as well. Furthermore, the law will speed up the trial process to bring the culprits of such heinous crimes to justice.
The Acid and Burn Crime Bill 2017
The bill was proposed and passed with the name “The Acid and Burn Crime Bill 2017”. Pakistan People’s Party suggested some amendments to the bill which were accepted by the national assembly.
The bill has received much appreciation from human rights activists across the country. Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Pakistan’s Chairperson Valerie Khan said;
It’s a very positive development that parliamentarians have realized the significance of the issue and agreed on a holistic approach to offer relief to the victims.
The new amendments added that;
- Life imprisonment shall be awarded to whoever commits or attempts to commit an offense of acid or burn attack and the act results in the death of any person.
- Up to 7 years of rigorous imprisonment to whoever intentionally causes injury by acid and burn attacks.
Acid Attacks in Pakistan
Pakistan has seen a decrease in acid attacks since 2014, mainly due to the increased awareness. In the last four years, since 2014, acid attacks have decreased by around 50%. In 2014, 153 acid attacks were reported. The data by ASF and others, tells the following story;
- A decrease of 54.9% in acid attacks in 2015.
- For 2016, Pakistan saw a decrease of 51.91% in such attacks.
However, another alarming increase was seen where the victims of acid and burn-related violence were children. According to data recorded for the year 2016, the acid attacks on children increased by 21.36% in 2016 from 15% in 2013.
Punjab is the center of acid-related violence with 85% of the attacks followed by Sindh, KPK, Balochistan, Islamabad, and Kashmir.