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"Steps should be taken to prevent more acid attacks in Pakistan"
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"Steps should be taken to prevent more acid attacks in Pakistan"

In response to a series of high-profile cases, Pakistan passed legislation last year to punish and deter acid attacks on women. But the violence has not ended. More needs to be done to end this horrific practice and safeguard female rights, writes Faisal Saleh Yaqub, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lahore.

Reports of acid attacks on women have shocked the whole of Pakistan in recent years.

The lives of thousands of Pakistani women have been ruined due to these brutal attacks.

In an attack, acid is often thrown onto especially sensitive parts of the body, like the face, and may result in blindness and maiming.

Perpetrators of these attacks may have the intent of seeking revenge, perhaps as part of a family dispute.

Acid attack victims in turn face various types of challenges. In order to heal physically, lengthy surgical treatment is needed. But beyond that, the world is now different for an acid attack victim.

A victim will never be able to live a normal life and interact with people the way she used to do previously. Many victims of acid attacks commit suicide while others are compelled to live a life of despair and apparent disgrace.

The unfortunate truth is that women in Pakistan, especially those living in rural areas, are not guaranteed rights equal to men. Their rights are frequently neglected. Many attacks are not even reported to the police, and whenever victims lodge complaints, their complaints go unheeded.

The government has stepped up efforts to combat the spread of this form of violence. The National Assembly of Pakistan passed the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill on May 10, 2011. According to the bill, offenders face heavy fines and life imprisonment.

But while the law is in place, implementation is badly needed. There are also many glitches in the justice system of Pakistan, which allows the perpetrators to flee without being convicted.We need of better police investigations, trials and treatment for victims.

Fakhra Younus, 34, from Karachi, is one high-profile victim of an acid attack. She committed suicide on March 17, 2012, in a bid to end what she saw as a life of disgrace and escape suffering.

It was in 2000 when her husband threw acid on her and fled the scene. Before that, she had to endure domestic violence in the form of physical and mental torture. Younus underwent multiple surgeries before taking her own life. Doctors treated her physically but were not able to heal her soul.

A lot needs to be done to safeguard the rights of women in a country like Pakistan. Steps should be taken to prevent more acid attacks. Emphasis should be taken toward ensuring the equality of women and educate society about the rights of women.

The laws regarding acid attackers should be implemented sternly. Offenders should be given severe punishments, to set an example for the future.

There are still many victims in Pakistan with unheard voices. They demand our attention.

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About me:

My name is Faisal Saleh Yaqub, and I am  from Lahore. I am an undergraduate engineering student at GIK Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, KPK, Pakistan.  

My hobbies include reading, writing, gaming and travelling. I usually write on topics related to social issues and youth. I believe that youth can change the future of any nation. I always strive to highlight the importance of youth as a game changer of today. 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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