Acid attack generic
A bottle of acid used in an attack. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Islamabad: The Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan (ASFP) on Sunday said that reported cases of acid attacks on women have dropped by around 50 per cent compared to the last five years.

In 2016 and 2017, there were a total of 71 victims of acid attacks, whereas between 2018 and 2019, there were 62 cases related to acid throwing, 11 cases of burning, and 4 about multiple burns.

In 2018, Pakistan’s National Assembly had passed The Acid and Burn Crime Bill 2017, which offers free medical treatment and rehabilitation for acid burn victims, who often face lifelong physical and psychological disabilities. The bill was moved in the lower house of Parliament by then Federal Minister Marvi Memon, a vocal supporter of women’s rights.

“The purpose of the bill is to support the victims and bring to justice the culprits at the earliest,” Memon said, thanking the government and the opposition for supporting the bill.

The bill aims at making provisions to specifically criminalise acid and burn-related violence by providing a fair and speedy trial in such offences. She had said at that time, with the introduction of this bill, acid-related crimes have declined and the Pakistani documentaries that won Academy Awards were also encouraged by such legislation.

The numbers revealed on Sunday found that the conviction rate has significantly increased from 17.3 per cent of total registered cases in 2014. Nearly 40 cases of acid throwing were reported from South Punjab, and 11 cases were from Central Punjab. Meanwhile, 54 FIRs were registered in 2018 to 2019 whereas 13 cases were prosecuted.

ASFP has been the leading organisation working for the promulgation and implementation of the Acid and Burn Crimes Criminal Amendment 2011. ASFP has supported not only a robust monitoring of implementation of the acid and burn crime legislation but also evidence-based programming and advocacy for acid and burn crime survivors.