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Acid still freely available despite threat of life imprisonment

A bottle costs just Rs150

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 3, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jan 3, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

The smallest amount of acid can ruin a life, says Niaz Bano. She survived an acid attack that left her scarred for life and says only survivors know what sufferings follow.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 31 acid attacks were reported in 2017, a whopping 67 in 2018 and 34 in 2019. And those are just the cases that have been reported.

These attacks are not new to our society, yet they continue despite a ban on the public sale and purchase of acid.

Under Section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code, public dealing of acid and other corrosive substances is banned. Offenders are punishable under Section 336(B) of the PPC, which has a maximum life imprisonment.

The minimum is not less than 14 years and a minimum fine of Rs1 million.

To investigate how strictly the law is implemented, SAMAA TV paid a visit to a store selling chemicals where a full bottle of acid was available for just Rs150.

Depilex Smileagain Foundation regional head Waseem Shah Malik said despite the law, many perpetrators are roaming free today.

Out of 10 suspects, not even one is punished, he said.

The DSF is an organisation that helps acid attack survivors. It helps them with rehabilitation and other medical care, including facial surgeries.

Its founder Masarrat Misbah, a cosmetologist and beautician, said a heart-rending question from a survivor made her realise what they go through.

"You are a famous beautician? Do make-up on my face and fix it," Misbah was asked. She revealed the girl had only one eye and her neck and chin muscles were in contracture.

“I felt as if my soul left the body,” Misbah said.

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