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LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Wednesday admitted for regular hearing an appeal of law student Khadija Siddiqui against the acquittal of Shah Hussain in her stabbing case by the Lahore High Court.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa also issued bailable warrants of Hussain and directed him to furnish surety bonds of Rs100,000 and bound him to appear on each hearing.

Granting leave to appeal, Justice Khosa observed that there was no room for “benefit of doubt” as the occurrence took place in broad daylight. “Had it taken place in dark there might be some benefit of doubt,” the judge said.

“Why did Khadija and her younger sister nominate Shah Hussain as accused from whole world?” questioned Justice Khosa. The bench would resume hearing after summer vacation in the courts. Both Khadija and Hussain were present in the court.

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

Chief Justice Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the convict’s acquittal after the decision was widely criticized on both mainstream and social media. However, the chief justice discharged the suo motu and fixed the appeal for hearing before Justice Khosa’s bench.

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

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

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2018