islamabad -  A 50 per cent decline has been seen in the number of acid attacks from 2014 to 2016, according to a study conducted by a non-governmental organisation.

The study by Acid Survivors Foundation in collaboration with European Union, Group Development Pakistan and National Commission on the Status of Women is part of the report “State of Human Rights in 2016” launched by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). It said that in 2014, a total of 153 acid attacks were recorded. As compared to 2014, a 54.9 per cent decrease was witnessed in 2015 while a drop of 51.91 per cent was seen in the number of victims in 2016. HRCP recorded 51 cases of acid attacks with 67 female victims in 2016.

The report further said that hundreds of women and girls were murdered in 2016 by family members on the pretext of defending the family honour. In several of the reported cases, the victim had been set on fire. The report quoted an incident which took place on April 28, 2016 in which a 15-member jirga in Abbottabad ordered the killing a 16-year-old girl by burning her to death for helping her friend escape the village to marry of her free will. Two similar cases were also reported in June where the victims were burnt to death in the name of honour, the report added. Another case that gained prominence in 2016 was the murder of Qandeel Baloch, a 26-year-old social media activist. She was strangulated by her own brother.

Acid throwing is a form of violent assault with an intention to disfigure, torture, or kill. A majority of acid attack cases remain undecided due to existence of various loopholes in the law. Medico-legal reports play an important role in the investigation, but sometimes acid victims reach the hospital very late and at times the cases are not reported at all.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 13-May-2017 here.