LAHORE: Moved by the plight of a 24-year-old woman who survived an acid attack, an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Wednesday handed down life imprisonment to the two culprits.
Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Ijaz Ahmed Buttar announced the verdict and also slapped a fine of PKR 4.2 million on each of the two accused -- Muhammad Ahmed and Shah Nawaz -- to be paid as compensation to the victim named Maryam.
In her statement, Maryam said that Ahmed, who lived in her locality in Chungi Amer Sadhu in Lahore had sent a marriage proposal, which was turned down by her family.
In June this year, Ahmed along with his accomplice, Nawaz, intercepted her on a motorcycle and threw acid on her.
Maryam suffered burns on her hands, face and neck, and was under treatment at Lahore's Jinnah Hospital.
"Ahmad had been forcing me to marry him. On my refusal he had threatened me that he would not leave me for anyone else," she said in her statement.
The court has also imposed a separate fine of PKR 1 million on each of them.
Under Section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code, public dealing of acid and other corrosive substances is banned.
Offenders are punishable under Section 336(B) of the Pakistan Penal Code, which has a maximum term of life imprisonment.
The minimum term, however, is not less than 14 years and a minimum fine is of PKR 1 million.
According to a report in The Dawn newspaper, there have been over 9,500 cases of acid attacks reported in Pakistan since 1994.
In 2018, the National Assembly passed the Acid and Burn Crime Bill, which aims at making provisions to specifically criminalise acid and burn-related violence by providing fair and speedy trial of such heinous crimes and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.