NA passes historic laws

Tuesday saw the National Assembly swinging into action and passing a series of important bills that will have a direct impact on the life of marginalised segments of the society. The foremost amongst them was Federal Minister Marvi Memon’s Acid and Burn Crime Bill aimed at supporting the acid and burn victims and bringing to justice the culprits at the earliest. Credit for this bill definitely goes to Marvi Memon who laboriously worked to get it finally passed after four years.
Acid burn is an extreme form of violence that harms victims both physically and psychologically and results in their social marginalisation and stigmatisation. According to estimates, majority of victims in our country are poor women and girls who often cannot get proper medical treatment as it is too expensive and then there is also an acute shortage of burn centres in the country. In this context, the bill is very important as it envisages free medical treatment and rehabilitation for the victims. The bill in fact will further strengthen Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 to convict the criminals who earlier used to escape punishment due to loopholes in the existing law. Though initially the maximum sentence for the culprit was proposed to be death penalty but the amendments proposed in the bill on Tuesday changed it to life imprisonment. In our view, those involved in such acts that result in the death of victims need to be given strict punishment not less than execution as this is the only course to discourage violence against women.
Anyway we understand the process of bringing improvement in the law will continue in the days ahead but currently the most important aspect is that after its enactment by the President, the law is also implemented in letter and in spirit so that no beast could dare to harm women. Another important bill that was passed by the Lower House pertained to the protection of rights of Transgender community. It is heartening to note that finally there is realisation of the rights of this most marginalised and neglected segment of the society. While in the upcoming elections we will see the transgender persons contesting the polls, it will be better if they are also elected on special seats so that they could better raise the plight of their community at the floor of Parliament.

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