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SC admits Khadija's appeal against acquittal of accused

Updated June 11, 2018

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LAHORE:  Khadija Siddiqui, her lawyers and supporters flash victory sign outside the Supreme Court registry on Sunday.—Online
LAHORE: Khadija Siddiqui, her lawyers and supporters flash victory sign outside the Supreme Court registry on Sunday.—Online

LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar told the counsel for stab victim Khadija Siddiqui on Sunday that her appeal against the Lahore High Court (LHC)’s decision to acquit the convict, Shah Hussain, would be heard next week by an apex court bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

The chief justice was hearing a suo motu case against the acquittal of the convict when Barrister Salman Safdar, the counsel for Ms Khadija, a law student, confirmed that an appeal against the LHC’s decision had been filed with the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Nisar observed that since the appeal had been filed, the suo motu notice stood infructuous.

Ms Khadija, along with her younger sister Sofia Siddiqui, also came to the rostrum and thanked the chief justice for taking notice of the acquittal of the convict. She complained to the chief justice that she had been subjected to character assassination for seeking justice.

LHCBA rebuked for passing a resolution against suo motu notice taken by chief justice

Chief Justice Nisar also took exception to a resolution passed by the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) against the suo motu notice taken by him in the case.

“How dare you launch this campaign against the courts?” the chief justice asked Tanvir Hashmi advocate, father of Shah Hussain. “The court has nothing to do if you ... have any relation with the governor of Punjab,” CJP Nisar told Mr Hashmi, who had moved the resolution adopted by the LHCBA.

“Do not drag the bar’s politics in this case,” the chief warned the lawyer.

He also snubbed former president of the LHCBA Rana Zia Abdul Rehman for trying to support Hashmi and the resolution. “The Supreme Court does not care about such resolutions,” CJP Nisar said.

On the other hand, Mr Hashmi said that the aggrieved party should accept the LHC decision like the other side had accepted the verdicts by two lowers courts. He said that the aggrieved party should have availed its right to appeal instead of running a campaign against the high court on social media.

A few days ago, a general house of the LHCBA passed a resolution against the suo motu notice taken by Chief Justice Nisar over the acquittal of the convict in Khadija’s stabbing case.

The resolution stated that a suo motu notice could be taken only if there was a violation of fundamental right in a case. However, in Khadija’s case, it said, no violation of fundamental right had been committed and the aggrieved party had the legal right to file an appeal against the acquittal order.

The resolution said that all suo motu notices taken by the Supreme Court would be deemed unconstitutional if violation of fundamental rights was not found in them.

The bar also urged the Supreme Court to devise rules on suo motu action.

Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem of the LHC had on June 4 acquitted Hussain giving him benefit of doubt. The judge had observed that the prosecution had failed to establish its case and the court could not solely rely upon the statement of the injured victim and witness.

Last year, a judicial magistrate had sentenced Hussain to seven-year imprisonment under section 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code for trying to kill his class fellow Khadija. Later in March this year, a district and sessions court had reduced the sentence by two years.

According to the prosecution, Hussain attacked Ms Khadija on May 3, 2016 near Shimla Hill where she along with her family driver had gone to pick up her younger sister from school. Both sisters were about to get into their car when helmet- wearing Hussain attacked Ms Khadija with knife and stabbed her 23 times, leaving her critically injured. The Civil Lines police had registered a case against Hussain on the charge of murder attempt.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2018

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