LAHORE: A law student will have to undergo seven-year rigorous imprisonment after a trial court on Saturday convicted him for trying to kill his female class fellow in a brutal knife attack.

Victim Khadija Siddiqui, also a law student, who had sustained at least 23 knife injuries, hailed the conviction of suspect Shah Hussain and thanked the media and the prosecution for supporting her struggle for justice.

“It was a test case for me as I have also been a victim of character assassination,” Ms Khadija said in a media talk held after the announcement of verdict by Judicial Magistrate Mubashir Hussain Awan and the arrest of the convict.

The magistrate in his ruling observed that the suspect stabbed the victim mercilessly. The severe injuries (caused) to her vital body parts clearly established that the suspect stabbed her without any limit to commit her to death, he added.

“So in such cases no mitigating circumstances are there to extend any relief to the accused. I believe that he is not entitled for any concession,” the magistrate observed.

The trial judge noted in the verdict that despite detailed cross-examination of eyewitnesses nothing came out in favour of the suspect. He observed it was an admitted fact that the suspect and the victim were good friends and it was also admitted that their friendship ended in break up.

The motive behind the occurrence was the strained relationship between the suspect and the victim, which was also admitted by the suspect during the cross-examination, the verdict said.

The judge maintained that recovery of the suspect’s motorbike and knife (the weapon of offence) and clothes of minor victim (sister of Ms Khadija) from the crime scene proved the chain of incidents related to the occurrence.

The judge handed down seven-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) to the suspect under section 324 (attempted murder) of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), two-year under section 337A(i) (causing injuries), five-year under section 337A(ii), one-year under section 337F(i), three-year under section 337F(ii) and five-year under section 337F(iv).

The judge also imposed a collective fine of Rs334,016 on the convict and ruled that the convict would not be released from jail till the payment even after completion of the jail term. The convict would have to remain in jail for maximum imprisonment of seven years as all the sentences would run concurrently. Convict Shah Hussain is a son of senior lawyer, Tanvir Hashmi.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had taken an administrative notice on the delay in the trial and entrusted the case to Mr Awan with direction to conclude the proceedings within 30 days.

However, the judge took over 60 days to conclude the trial and had reserved his verdict on July 27.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2017