ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Wednesday accepted the appeal of Khadija Siddiqui and overturned the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) acquittal of her attacker Shah Hussain, reinstated the punishment and ordered his immediate arrest.
Following the decision, Hussain was arrested from the SC premises.
After the court’s proceedings, Siddiqui said that: “This is a victory for all women as a precedent has been set that you will stand victorious in the battle against evil.”
“[Such] cases must be dealt on the basis of their merit, not on the basis of character assassination or scandal,” she said in answer to a question.
Replying to a question, Barrister Salman Safdar, a member of Siddiqui’s legal team said that “defendant [Hussain] was also given chances to satisfy the bench as he is also a law student”.
Siddiqui’s lawyer Hassaan Niazi took it to Twitter to express his delight over the verdict.
— Hassaan Niazi (@HniaziISF) January 23, 2019
Twenty four-year-old Khadija Siddiqui, a law student, was stabbed 23 times by her classmate, Shah Hussain, in May 2016 near Shimla Hill in Lahore when she went to pick up her younger sister from school. Hussain attacked Siddiqui just when both the sisters were about to get in their car and stabbed her multiple times with a knife. Upon the intervention of her driver, Hussain left Siddiqui in a critical condition and fled the crime scene. An eyewitness of the incident, however, managed to capture the attack on his phone.
Following the incident, Siddiqui lodged a formal complaint against Hussain who was, subsequently, acquitted by LHC last year in June. Following the verdict, Siddiqui appealed against the decision in the SC.
On January 18, newly sworn-in CJP announced to hear the appeal on January 23.
A three-member Supreme Court (SC) bench, headed by the newly sworn-in CJP, heard the case against the acquittal of Siddiqui’s attacker and classmate Shah Hussain last year in June.
As the proceeding started on Wednesday, the top judge inquired ” if the defendant [Hussain] was present [in the court]”. To which, he was told that “[yes] he is”.
CJP further remarked that “the top court intends to see if the decision [of Hussain’s acquittal] by the high court was based on the evidence presented [or not]”.
Siddiqui’s lawyer Hassaan Niazi pleaded that “the high court did not take a [complete] look at the case evidence presented [to come to a conclusion]”.
“Hussain was Siddiqui’s classmate. He stabbed her 23 times, including two swipes at her neck. She was badly injured and her wounds were bleeding when she was brought to the hospital,” he added.
Justice Khosa pointed out that Siddiqui identified her attacker five days after the incident to which her lawyer said that “she was unconscious [at that time] and she did not [even] recognise her doctor”.
The top judge observed that “the front of Siddiqui’s neck was not wounded and she could have spoken on the matter [earlier]”.
The court was further told that the accused attacked her “with intention”.
Siddiqui, who is currently studying in the United Kingdom, landed in Islamabad on Tuesday to attend the hearing.