Khadija stabbing case: Shah Hussain arrested on SC orders

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ISLAMABAD: Shah Hussain, who stabbed law student Khadija Siddiqui 23 times in Lahore in May 2016, was arrested after the Supreme Court overturned the Lahore High Court (LHC) decision regarding his acquittal and ordered his imprisonment.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa heard Khadija’s appeal against the LHC’s (LHC) acquittal of her attacker and classmate Shah Hussain. 

Declaring LHC’s acquittal of Shah Hussain as null and void, the top court ordered Shah Hussain’s arrest and upheld a decision of a sessions court to sentence him to five years in prison.

As the hearing went under way, CJP Khosa was informed that suspect Shah Hussain was present in court. Justice Khosa remarked, “We want to see whether the LHC’s conclusion was in accordance with the evidence.”

Khadija’s lawyer then told the bench, “The LHC did not see the complete evidence present in the case. Khadija’s sister also appeared as a witness.” 

The lawyer of the law student continued, “Shah Hussain was Khadija’s classmate and stabbed her 23 times. He even attacked her twice on her neck. According to doctors, Khadija was bleeding when she was brought to the hospital.”

CJP questions delay in naming Shah Hussain

Justice Khosa observed, “Khadija knew the suspect but he was named five days after the incident took place.”

At this, Khadija’s lawyer said that she was not in her senses at the time of the attack. “She had even termed the doctors as strangers,” the lawyer said.

“Shah Hussain planned and only attacked Khadija,” the lawyer continued.

Stating that Khadija’s sister also “delayed naming the suspect”, the chief justice said, “They both were law students, now we should practice law.”

“The most important question is why did Shah Hussain want to kill Khadija? Was this question put on record?” Justice Khosa asked.

“The suspect had a lot of chances to kill. Why did he decide to kill in a crowded area and was this point brought on record?” the chief justice further questioned.

“Stabbings can be a result of provocations, if the boy was interested in the girl then why did he want to kill her?” he added.

Khadija’s lawyer responded, “It is on record that they both were very close to each other. Seven months before the attempted killing, they both ended the relationship.”

“Shah Hussain kept insisting and Khadija kept rejecting. This is a case of insistence and rejection,” the lawyer upheld. “Khadija gained conscience five days after the attack and immediately named Shah Hussain as the suspect.”

The chief justice added that the “recovery memo states that a helmet and two hair were found”. “Was a DNA conducted of the hair?” the chief justice asked.

Khadija’s lawyer responded, “Police said that they sent the hair to the forensic lab but the lab representatives said that they did not receive it.”

Justice Khosa remarked, “In such cases there are two conditions – one is if not mine then no one’s and the other is that the girl might have something that can be used to blackmail the boy.”

The chief justice further questioned, “Did the prosecution also request to suspend LHC’s decision?”

Khadija’s lawyer then said, “Any decision by the court is acceptable to us other than forwarding the matter to the high court.” 

Shah Hussain’s arguments

On defence counsel Khalid Ranjha’s request, the chief justice granted Shah Hussain two minutes to present his arguments. “I was nominated because I refused to marry and ended the relationship,” Shah Hussain said. “Khadija expressed reservations over the letters that were sent to me for cross-examination,” he added.

“The prosecution attempted to portray me as a ‘desperate person’,” the suspect further said.

Khadija, who is currently studying in the United Kingdom and arrived in Islamabad earlier this week to attend the hearing, told the court, “Shah Hussain used to emotionally blackmail me.”

When the chief justice asked Khadija regarding the statement she gave to the doctors, the law student replied, “I remember very little and can’t even recall whether I spoke at all or not.”

“I did not even know whether I am alive or not,” she added.

After hearing the arguments, the bench overturned the LHC order acquitting Shah Hussain and ordered his arrest. The top court also upheld a sessions court decision to sentence Shah Hussain to five years in prison rather than seven years.

A victory for every woman: Khadija

Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court after the hearing, Khadija said the truth always prevails. 

“The Supreme Court’s [judgment] has proven that even if you misuse your powers, you cannot escape the truth forever. Today’s decision is a victory for every woman.”

The law student thanked the media and praised its role in highlighting the case. “The media played its role brilliantly. It covered my day to day case proceedings and played its role in preventing injustice.”

The case

On May 3, 2016, Khadija was stabbed 23 times by Shah Hussain, her classmate on Lahore’s Davis Road. He managed to flee from the scene of the crime but was captured on a mobile camera by an eyewitness.

After the registration of a case, the accused requested a sessions court for bail before arrest, which was turned down. Hussain, whose father happens to be a renowned lawyer, was aided by a number of other lawyers to flee from court premises after his request was turned down.

In September 2016, Hussain’s lawyer once again challenged the sessions court verdict in the Lahore High Court, but the court maintained the earlier verdict.

Three days later the accused surrendered himself to police and was sent to prison. He remained behind bars for nearly two months and was subsequently released on December 1, 2016, after the sessions court granted him bail.

Khadija filed an appeal against the court’s decision, but it was dismissed.

On July 29, Lahore judicial magistrate sentenced Hussain to seven years in prison, however, on June 4, the Lahore High Court acquitted Hussain. Former chief justice Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the acquittal in June 2018.