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‘Crimes against women to be curbed’

Karachi: The culprits involved in throwing acid at Maria Shah, a young woman from Shikarpur, would be brought to justice and would not be allowed to go unpunished, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman, said on Sunday. She was talking to the media after visiting the Burns Centre of the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK).

Shah was a lady health worker (LHW). She is currently being treated at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Burns Centre and is struggling for her life. Rehman inquired after her health, and said that every possible treatment would be made available to her.

Dr Aftab Channa, a senior medico-legal officer (MLO), said that 24-year-old Shah suffered from 38 per cent burn injuries and her condition was serious. Rehman said that a search for the culprit was being mounted and that his brother and father were under custody. She said that the photo of the culprit would also be published in the press for identification.

The minister made it clear that heinous crimes of this sort would not be tolerated. She said that the government and the civil society would work jointly so that the culprit may not get any place to hide.

Rehman said that the crimes against women would be dealt with an iron hand so that no one could dare commit such a crime. She said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had also discussed the issue with her.

“Legislation is one thing but the state must put its force behind finding such criminals, bringing them to justice and ensuring that women who suffer are given the best treatment and that they are given hope to be able to rebuild their lives,” Rehman said.

Shah’s case, she said, was tragic and hugely criminal and “we must take action and make it a test case and that every possible effort would be made to award exemplary punishment to the culprit.”

The minister also referred to her policy statement in the National Assembly and said that the government would reopen girls’ schools with the help of along with the Awami National Party (ANP), which is an ally of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the NWFP. No ‘non-state actor’ would be allowed to burn educational institutions for women, she said, adding that Islam did not allow such attacks.

She said the federal and the provincial governments in the NWFP would use their powers so that educational institutions for women remained open and students were provided protection.

She also pointed out that in Swat and areas where the weather was cold, winter vacations extend to March 1. She said that NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti had also assured her that after March 1, no one would be able to say that girl’ schools in Swat and Malakand should be shut down.

She said that the Federal Government and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had given the authorization that the FM channels that were being used by such elements to coordinate such attacks be jammed.
Source: The news
Date:1/19/2009

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