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AFRO-NETS> Pakistan: Provincial Assembly Declares Acid Attacks on Women Equal to Attempted Murder


 
Pakistan: Provincial Assembly Declares Acid Attacks on Women Equal to Attempted 
Murder
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
A provincial assembly in Pakistan wants cases of acid attacks on 
women to be treated as attempted murder and taken out of the control 
of families and tribes, officials said Wednesday.
 
The Punjab assembly made the call when it unanimously passed a reso-
lution tabled by a female member, Humaira Awais Shahid, on Tuesday.
 
Violence against women is common in Pakistan, especially in deeply 
conservative rural areas. In its 2002 report, the independent Human 
Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated that 70-90 per cent of Paki-
stani women suffer some kind of domestic violence.
 
Hundreds of women die each year in so-called honour killings, and 
criminal proceedings against the perpetrators - often the victims' 
own male relatives - are rare.
 
The violence ranges from beatings, to rape and murder. Few women com-
plain of abuse for fear they will be disowned by their families and 
left without any means of support.
 
Attacks with acid are also all too common. These cases are usually 
dealt with by tribal elders or within families.
 
Shahid's resolution would elevate the crime and make it mandatory 
that the government get involved in prosecutions.
 
Kamila Hayat, an activist with the Human Rights Commission, welcomed 
the move. "Any legislation is a good step," she said, adding that 
such attacks have more than tripled within the last year in Punjab.
 
The resolution must now be discussed by the National Assembly. If it 
passes, it would have to be signed by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf 
to become law. No timetable was given for the process.
 
SOURCE: PlanetWire; Associated Press, 06/AUG/03
 
--
Ahmed Saleem
Senior Communication Officer
Population Council
House No. 7, Street No. 62
F-6/3, Islamabad
Pakistan
Cell:+92-300-9553355
Tel: +92-51-2277439
Fax: +92-51-2821401
mailto:asaleem@pcpak.org 

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