One of the most horrifying forms of gender-based violence in Pakistan is acid throwing, usually sulphuric acid is used. The victims are mainly women. The acid is used with malicious intent to take revenge, disfigure and harm the person.
Every year many women in Pakistan fall victims of brutal acid attacks. The Acid Survivor Foundation of Pakistan deals with 100 cases a year but estimates the real number of people affected to be far higher. The attacks are frequently linked to domestic violence or revenge by rejected men. Some men ego will not allow them to accept rejection and when their advances are spurned they retaliate by throwing acid at the woman.
The attacks are made possible by the easy availability of cheap acids as cleaning fluid or for use in the cotton industry. The perpetrator intention is not to kill the victim, but to make them suffer forever. An acid attack is a terrifying experience. Acid melts human flesh and even bones. It causes excruciating pain and terror. The victims are left mutilated and scarred for the rest of their lives. Some suffer permanent disabilities such as blindness and some victims have died as a result of their injuries.
In December 2011, the Acid Survivor Foundation-Pakistan, with support from the UK’s Department for International Development, led a campaign, which resulted in the unanimous passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 made acid and burn violence a crime against the state and imposed a fine of one million Pakistani rupees, along with a punishment of minimum seven years to lifetime imprisonment, for the crime of acid throwing.
Despite the new laws, acid throwing continue to take place.