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Acid fails to burn victim’s courage

By: Fareiha Rehman

ISLAMABAD — Acid attack victim Naila Farhat is perhaps the first courageous girl to approach the Supreme Court for justice and look forward for a good future even though her facial features have been damaged considerably.

Naila, hailing from Layyah, was 13-years-old on 14th August 2003 when she suffered from serious burns on her body, including eyes, face, and neck.

The accused Arshad Hussain along with Naila’s teacher Mazhar Hussain threw acid on her after her parents refused Arshad’s marriage proposal on the grounds that their daughter was too young to get married.

“I want him to go through the same agony that I’m experiencing”, said Naila in her broken words.

While narrating her ordeal, she said that she was a student of 8th class then and was coming back from school along with her brother and other schoolfellows when Arshad and Mazhar held her and threw acid on her face. Naila, who was once very beautiful, full of life, and ambitious is now in deep depression as she lost her left eye and ear permanently from the burns. The incident had also damaged her eyesight and she is unable to see clearly with one eye.

Even though she had bravely vowed to face the sores on her face, she has failed to hide the agony that sores inflicted on her soul.

Currently residing at the Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Unit (NCRU) of the Acid Survival Foundation Pakistan, Naila is learning how to sew at a three-month stitching course at Pakistan Air Force Wives Association (PAFWA). She stated that she also plans to complete her studies by getting enrolled in the AIOU’s new academic session in January.

Naila’s first hearing at the Supreme Court will be on November 13. Her legal coordinator Sana Masood informed that they hoped that Naila would be successful in achieving her goals and be able to get justice from the highest court of Pakistan, which should not only punish the perpetrator, but also enable other cases to be contested through an effective and efficient judicial process.

She further apprised that the decisions from two lower courts (Magistrate’s Court & Additional Sessions Court) have gone in Naila’s favour, with the accused Arshad Hussain convicted and sentenced for a period of twelve years and three months and fined Rs. 57,016.16 under section 324, 334, 337 (w) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

She informed that the amount was to be paid within three years in four equal installments from the date of final judgment.

However, she continued, Naila’s teacher Mazhar Hussain was acquitted owing to insufficient evidence submitted in the court by the investigation team.

She further said that this decision was appealed by the accused in the Sessions Court, along with a revision of the petition by Naila so that a higher punishment should be granted to the accused.

Regrettably, she further noted, this was dismissed and the Sessions Court upheld the previous judgment. The case then went to the High Court, which directed the petitioner to pay Rs. 1,119,135.16/- within the period of two years in equal monthly installments, and upon payment of this amount, the court directed, the accused would be released from jail.

Displeased with these decisions of the high court, Sana maintained that Naila has decided to file an appeal of the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court.
Source: The Nation
Date:11/12/2009

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