Pakistani court: Eye for an eye

A Pakistani man has been sentenced to be blinded by acid after a judge found him guilty of doing the same to his former fiancée.

    Acid attacks are common in parts of Pakistan

    Muhammad Sajid carried out an acid attack on Rabia Bibi in June after her parents broke off their engagement and gave her hand to someone else.

    The judge in the anti-terrorism court in Bahawalpur, a town located in central Punjab province, ruled on Friday that the convict be given a matching punishment under the Islamic law of Qisas, or requital.

    The law, enforced in Pakistan during the military rule of General Zia al-Haq in 1979, says a culprit should be handed a similar punishment to the crime committed unless pardoned by the victim or the victim's family.

    Observers say the sentence is unlikely to be carried out because of a public outcry and as military ruler President Pervez Musharraf is determined to modernise the country.

    Mutilated

    "Acid drops will be thrown into his eyes in line with the Islamic laws," said Muhammad Shahid, a court official.

    President Pervez Musharraf is
    likely to oppose the sentence

    Sajid confessed before the court that he had thrown the acid in the face of Bibi in revenge for her family not keeping its promise, the court official said. The attack blinded and badly mutilated the girl, he added.

    Human rights activists criticised the ruling, which can be appealed against.

    "It is a ruling, but not justice. It is not a punishment, but revenge," said Rashid Rahman of the private Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said.

    Rural attacks
     
    Acid attacks on women are relatively common in rural Pakistan, where harsh feudal and tribal laws are enforced.

    Women have been victims of such attacks merely for failing to bear a son or for cooking badly.

    Human rights activists say more than 70 incidents of acid attacks have been reported in Punjab since January.

    Strict rulings based on Islamic justice handed out by lower courts in Pakistan are often overturned by higher courts.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.