LAHORE: The civil society is upset about ‘early’ release of Shah Hussain who is convicted for stabbing 23 times law student Khadija Siddiqui, from the jail as the government is being asked to explain the remissions extended to the convict.

The rights activists and members of the civil society took to social media and condemned the release of the convict as a result of “relaxation in his sentence”.

“Shah Hussain stabbed @khadijasid751 23 times, released from jail after serving 3.5yrs against his 5yr sentence. Can PTI explain how when Govt cant remit sentence without Khadija’s consent nor does he qualify for good behaviour release given conviction under 324PPC @ShireenMazari1,” Jibran Nasir, a lawyer and a rights activist, said in one of tweets.

He argued that the government could not extend the benefit of a remission in sentence to a convict without the consent of the complainant or the victim.

Lahore High Court Bar Association president Maqsood Buttar, the counsel for Hussain, told Dawn that there had been no undue favour from the government in the release of his client. He said like any other prisoner, Hussain was entitled to remissions as per the law and prisons rules. He claimed that Hussain was supposed to come out of the jail next month as per the sentence calculated by the jail officials after affecting the remissions available in the rules.

Buttar represented Hussain before the Lahore High Court in a writ petition allowed on July 9. The petition was filed against the government for not extending a special remission of one month to Hussain. The counsel said any convict after completing three years of his/her sentence was entitled to a special remission of one month.

He claimed that extending remissions in the sentences, available in the law, was a matter between a convict and the home department. He said the government was not bound to seek consent from the complainant or the victim before extending the benefit of remissions to a convict.

An associate of Ms Siddiqui, who did not want to be named, told Dawn that neither jail officials contacted the complainant party before granting remissions to the convict nor did she receive any notice from the high court. He claimed that Hussain was supposed to be released in July 2022.

A judicial magistrate had in 2017 sentenced Hussain seven-year imprisonment under section 324 of PPC for trying to kill his class fellow Khadija Siddiqui. Later, a sessions court reduced his sentence by two years.

The LHC had on June 4, 2018 acquitted Hussain giving him the benefit of the doubt. The court 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. The Supreme Court, however, restored the sentence.

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 a knife and stabbed her 23 times leaving her critically injured.

The Civil Lines police had registered a case against Hussain on charges of attempted murder.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021

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