Khadija Siddiqui, a student of a private college, who was brutally attacked by her classmate in May last year, is due to sit an exam in the coming week — alongside her attacker.
Siddiqui, 22, was attacked on May 3 last year, three days before she was due to appear for her final law exams, by Shah Hussain, the son of Advocate Sayed Tanvir Hashmi.
Siddiqui had gone to pick up her seven-year-old sister, Sophia, from school and had barely approached her car when Hussain, wearing a helmet rushed towards them. The attacker then pushed Siddiqui and stabbed her 23 times.
A murder case was filed in Lahore High Court (LHC) within a week of the attack. Evidence was presented before the judiciary, including video footage which helped identify the attacker.
However, LHC had dismissed pre-arrest bail of the suspect in September 2016 while a sessions court granted him post-arrest bail after two months. Appearing in a TV programmes on Wednesday evening, Siddiqui said she could not accept that a man who had tried to attack her in the presence of her younger sister would be appearing for the same law exam as her in two days.
‘He will become a part of the same legal system, this is traumatising for me. I do not know how I will give the exam’ Siddiqui said, appearing on the daily talk show a year after the brutal stabbing that left her in a critical state.
Siddiqui said that she used to be friends with Hussain up till a year before he attacked her. However, she added, that all communication between them had been cut off when Hussain became ‘coercive’ towards her. Siddiqui said that Hussain has also hacked her accounts.
The victim of the brutal stabbing expressed her dismay at the legal system that has failed to bring her attacker to accountability. ‘I don’t understand how you can attack someone in front of their little sister with the intent to murder. Yet in this society, there is no accountability.’
Siddiqui said that, in her opinion, the attacker had been allowed to walk free due to the ‘influence the lawyers have over the judge’. ‘The judges get scared, the lawyers have so much influence the judges are forced to give an incorrect verdict.’
‘In our [legal] system there are weaknesses. We have loopholes in the law, of course, but they are not enough to to validate such extensive delays [in granting justice].’
She asserted that the delays were means to exert pressure on ‘the weaker party.’ ‘Those who have the power to do so, pressure the courts so much that the victim is forced to give up.’
However, she added that that her determination to fight her case had never wavered, rather, it had become stronger. ‘If i give up, the avenues will open up for others to engage in such violence with ease.’
Siddiqui recounted that her attacker’s father had approached her outside the court once and asked her to forgive his son. ‘I told him the way you have sided with your son… this is very dangerous for the society. He can someday attack another girl, just the way he attacked me,’ Siddiqui said
Appealing to the judiciary to review its decision, Siddiqui said that her case should become a landmark case and set an example in society of punishment is handed down to even the powerful when they commit a crime.
She said that the decision of the court was ‘erroneous’ and ‘perverse’ and called on Chief justice Saqib Nisar to listen to her appeal. Siddiqui also appealed to ‘those who have mothers and daughters in their homes to stand up and raise their voices.’
‘In this society the woman is always silenced, and she is asked to tolerate. They have tried to silence me me as well, but i am still standing strong.’