Depilex Smileagain Foundation demands to ban on public sale of acid and corrosive substances in light of the growing incidence of acid attacks against women.

Acording to the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act, 2011 (Criminal Law Second Amendment Act, 2011) made amendments in Pakistan Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to punish perpetrators of acid crimes by clearly including acid crimes in the definition of hurt. The definition now includes “hurt by dangerous means or substance, including any corrosive substance or acid to be crimes”. Despite the very strict law which can carry punishments of lifetime imprisonment acid attacks continue to rise across in Punjab.

According to the data, 85 percent of the acid attacks occurred in Punjab, mostly in southern Punjab followed by Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkwa, Balochistan, Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. 

To Curb Acid Attacks and its victims rehabilitation in Punjab consultation on policy recommendations with provincial legislators organised by the Depilex Smileagain Foundation (DSF) on Thursday in Lahore.

While addressing the consultation President of DSF Massarat Misbah reiterated that there are many unreported cases of acid attacks where many victims die, especially in rural areas. "Sometimes people try to hide information if the attacker is the husband or a family member of the victim," and she requested to provincial legislators to make suitable amendments to the law for regulating the sale and purchase of acid in light of the growing incidence of acid attacks against women.

She also said that enacted law for curtailing acid throwing incidents, there is considerable vacuum in the law resulting in the increase of such incidents.

She also said that to make amendments to the law to regulate acid business by specifying who will issue licenses for acid sale and who can sell and purchase acid and under what conditions.

Program Manager of DSF Gul Hassan Abbas said that provincial government had enacted a law over years ago claiming that it was aimed at checking the inhuman practice. He said, existing law is having several loopholes. Sale licenses of acid are issued for possession and sale of poisonous substances, including acids, under the Poison Act (XII) of 1919. There is a need for an overarching legislative framework to deter acid attacks and provide relief to the victims remains vital.

Furthermore, he said law did not provide any mechanism for regulating the sale and purchase of acid and that the availability of acid was a prime reason of its use in attacks against women.