FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Addressed to: The National Assembly, The Senate & The Supreme Court of Pakistan
On 10th of May’2011, the National Assembly unanimously passed the Acid Control and Acid Crime Bill. The bill recommends 14-year to lifetime imprisonment sentences and levies fines up to Rs.1 million for perpetrators of the crime. In December’2011, the Senate made an amendment in the existing criminal law, making the offense non-bailable. The commitment of Acid Survivor’s Foundation, Marvi Memon, support of the National Assembly and the Senate are worthy of appreciation. However the implementation of the bill continues to be a concern.
Today, Pakistan lost a brave and resilient woman who represented the face of acid survivors; Fakhra Yunus. After a twelve-year struggle for justice, Fakhra leapt off from the sixth floor of a building and ended her life. In her last note, Fakhra blamed the silence of law on the atrocities and insensitivity of Pakistani rulers for her death. The man accused of disfiguring Fakhra, Bilal Khar, was arrested in October’2002 but released in 2003 on Rs.200,000 bail.
Bilal Khar son of former Punjab Governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar has used his political influence to evade arrests for the past twelve years. Your silence makes you complacent. Merely approving a bill criminalizing the offense is not enough. The state must take action to ensure that Bilal Khar is arrested and put on trial.
For years Fakhra bravely struggled for justice, her appeals were constantly neglected forcing her to take asylum outside Pakistan. Fakhra is not alone; hundreds of victims of the atrocious crime await justice. We appeal to the Supreme Court to ensure the arrest and trial of Bilal Khar and the National Assembly and Senate to pass and implement more specific laws suitable for dealing with control and availability of acid, sentencing, rehabilitation and recompense for survivors.