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Pakistan

‘Victorious day’: Pakistan court overturns acquittal of man accused of stabbing his classmate 23 times for spurning his love

  • Shah Hussain is accused of attacking his classmate Khadija Siddiqui after she rejected his romantic advances
  • He was acquitted on all charges after initially receiving a seven-year prison term, but Pakistan’s top court has ordered his re-arrest
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 5:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 6:41pm

Pakistan’s top court has overturned the acquittal of a man accused of stabbing a woman 23 times for spurning his love.

Law student Khadija Siddiqui, then 21, survived the frenzied daylight attack three years ago outside her sister’s school in Lahore. The incident sparked a national debate on violence against women.

Siddiqui had named the perpetrator as Shah Hussain, a classmate whom she had rejected romantically. He was convicted and handed a seven-year prison term in mid-2017.

But Hussain, the son of a prominent Lahore lawyer, appealed the decision and was acquitted on all charges the following year in a provincial court.

The supreme court’s reversal comes after a tenacious campaign for justice by Siddiqui, who has emerged as a women’s rights crusader since Hussain’s acquittal.

“Today is a victorious day, it was a landmark decision which shows that nobody is above the law in Pakistan,” she said after the verdict.

“The verdict will serve as a precedent for the hundreds of Pakistani women who are harassed every day but are scared to go to the police or courts.”

Outrage spreads on social media over man freed after frenzied knife attack on Pakistani student

Siddiqui’s lawyer Hassan Niazi voiced her delight at the court’s decision on Twitter, while other rights campaigners greeted the news with jubilation.

“Congratulations Khadija. Your struggle & resilience is a source of inspiration for both women and men fighting against injustices in Pakistan,” tweeted prominent rights activist Jibran Nasir.

Hundreds of women are attacked and murdered by men in Pakistan each year and justice is often elusive in a sluggish court system advocates say is often slanted against female victims.

Many cases of violence against women in rural areas are not reported to authorities and instead mediated by village councils, often in a manner that is punitive for women.