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Acid Burnings Finally Banned In Pakistan

Azim Mai’s husband allegedly threw acid in her face last year after she refused to sell their two boys to a man in Dubai to use as camel racers.

The 35-year-old mother of five can no longer find work as a maid because her deeply scarred face scares potential employers.

An Acid Burning Victim

Acid burnings were acceptable in Pakistan until recently, when Women Rights Laws banned the horrific act. Pakistan has terrible history of gender inequality. Pakistan ranked third to last in 2011 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, only beating Chad and Yemen.

In South Asia, acid throwing attacks have been used as a form of revenge for refusal of sexual advances, proposals of marriage and demands for dowry.

The two bills containing the new laws stiffened the punishment for acid attacks and criminalized practices such as marrying off young girls to settle tribal disputes and preventing women from inheriting property.

In 2010, at least 8,000 acid attacks, forced marriages and other forms of violence against women were reported, according to The Aurat Foundation. Because the group relied mostly on media reports, the figure is likely an undercount.

The new laws criminalized acid attacks and mandated that convicted attackers would serve a minimum sentence of 14 years that could extend to life, and pay a minimum fine of about $11,200.

“It might take another 10 to 20 years to change society’s mindset and public will,” said Kiyani from The Aurat Foundation. “That’s a challenge for both the government and civil society.”

Here’s a question: WHY WAS THIS EVER LEGAL?

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