Jun 6, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice on Tuesday of recent acquittal by Lahore High Court of Shah Hussain, the man earlier convicted for stabbing fellow law student Khadija Siddiqui 23 times and critically injuring her.
On Monday, LHC’s Justice Ahmed Naeem acquitted convict Hussain, giving him benefit of doubt — a verdict which was immediately dubbed as travesty of justice.
Hussain had stabbed his class fellow Khadija multiple times for rejecting his proposal. The attempted murder incident took place on May 3, 2016 in Lahore. Perpetrator Hussain had managed to flee from the scene of the crime but was captured on a mobile camera by an eyewitness.
Last year, a local court sentenced Hussain to seven years in prison, which was later reduced to five by a district and sessions court on March 30 this year. On Monday, the highest court of Punjab province let him scot-free, trivializing the entire due process of law, as one lawyer put it.
The CJP will hear the case on June 10 at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry and has summoned complete record of the case from LHC, after Twitteratis took the lead in row-boating the huge outrage to draw top court’s attention against the acquittal given by LHC and #JusticeforKhadija became a top trend on social media.
The malaise, and the social, political fault-lines pervading the country (which is looking forward to general polls on July 25) were highlighted to the hilt in invariably all of tweets– election chatter and politics took a back seat as “#JusticeFor Khadija” became the day’s buzz word with remarkable alacrity and synchronization:
Poignant among the critical mass of tweets in favor of Khadija, calling for justice and reversal of acquittal were the following Oh No’s, each reflective of the feelings the young Pakistani generation carry regarding skewed processes, failing checks and balances akin to a dysfunctional system:
Qasim Khankhail said: “Only punishing Shah Hussain will do no good. Stripping Sardar Ahmad Naeem of his honors and trying him under Judicial Review will ensure no Judge ever puts justice second again.”
Hassaan Niazi pointed out “More revelations: Khadija was told by governor Punjab Raffique Rijwana to back off. The criminal’s father is lawyer from Multan. Governor Punjab is also from Multan. Standing for their community member even if they commit butcher?
#23timesStabs #JusticeForKhadija #WeAreWithKhadija“
Social activist Jibran Nasir while appealing to CJP Saqib Nisar said: “What kind of judiciary is this which only gives justice when media & civil society pressure is there? You are summoning heads of all depts demanding reforms but what about setting your own house in order.”
Fasi Zaka, a former Pakistan hockey team captain said: ” I hope someone can go to the judge in Khadija’s case, bang on any cutlery they find, question the judge’s qualifications and wonder aloud whether the head of the institution should pack up and go home if they cannot provide fundamental rights to the people.”
Social worker Akram Malik tweeted: “if judge found no or weak evidence, IO & prosecutors b jailed and retrial ordered rather than acquitting a known offender.”
Fatima: “This is Shah Hussain. He is the beast who stabbed Khadija 23 times. First, his punishment got reduced from 7 years to 5 years and today he was acquitted by the Lahore high court. This monster should not be walking free!!”
Naila Inayat said: “Justice is a fallacy if you’re a woman in Pakistan. Khadija Siddiqi stabbed 23 times by her class fellow Shah Husain, survived, pursued her case amid threats, two years on, the criminal is acquitted. There is NO #JusticeForKhadija.”
Asad Rahim Khan: “Both the pain caused by this legal system and the sheer bravery of @khadeeeej751 stand out. The Supreme Court must do justice. And the lawyers that are silent, for fear of upsetting the bar or bench, should burn their licenses already.”
Osman Khalid Butt: “A seven-year sentence for attempted murder – reduced to five years – reduced to nothing. This is how we value a woman seeking justice with proof (multiple eye-witnesses, DNA match) – the message is loud and clear. She is reduced to nothing.”
Kashif Chaudhry: “I belong to a country where an 83 y/o grandfather is in high security prison under anti-Ahmadi laws because he read & sold the Holy Quran, while a criminal who sought murder of a woman by barbaric stabbing spree is a free man.”
Faizan: “Someone stabs you with a knife 23 times with intent to kill and our courts think it’s not a crime worth punishing. Let that sink in. This justice system is in shambles.”
In the next 8 to 10 weeks, the country’s top court would be hearing and handing out verdicts in several significant cases related to but not limited to fundamental rights, as they put it. These include myriad cases of very significant societal and political matters, such as Panamagate related references, Saaf Pani project scandal, Landgrabbing cases against Bahria Town, Safe drinking water crisis in Sindh and Punjab, etc. etc. etc. Concurrently or subsequently, the general elections would be held on July 25 which has already polarized the nation, frenzied the already exuberant media and drawn international attention good or bad.
Nevertheless project democracy would move on — the judiciary and the military have said so several times amid harsh criticisms and cacophony of a judicial-military bonhomie. Regardless, justice must prevail and be served, and be seen to have been served. The two ongoing exercises are being expected to draw the nation closer. Critics and cynics are painting it with shades of grey– including some Western media.