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Khadija Siddiqi Fears For Safety As Attacker Set Free After Remission In 5-Year Sentence

Lawyer Khadija Siddiqi who was injured after being stabbed multiple times in 2016 has expressed concerns for her safety following her attacker Shah Hussain’s early release from jail due to relaxation in his 5-year sentence.

Shah Hussain, who only completed 3.5 years of the 5-year-imprisonment awarded to him by the Supreme Court in 2019, was released from a Lahore jail on Thursday. Talking to Naya Daur Media, Khadija Siddiqi said that she was neither informed nor asked about the remission in Hussain’s sentence.

The petition, filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) earlier this month, was titled ‘Shah Hussain vs Punjab government’ and the jail authorities were summoned to the court during hearing of the case. Meaning that the Punjab government was privy to the convict’s request to remit his sentence, but did not oppose it. Khadija Siddiqi said that she was surprised the authorities did not consult her before making the decision despite her 4-year-long battle to get justice.

Lawyer and human rights activist Jibran Nasir said that Shah Hussain’s release was illegal because remission is always granted for one or two months to an imprisoned person if he displays good moral conduct or facilitates the other prisoners in education or partakes in any other positive activities. “But Hussain’s matter is ambiguous.”

He further said that the government was silent as to how he was granted emission without Khadija Siddiqui’s permission. “Since he was awarded punishment under clause 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code, any remission without the consent of Khadija or the approval of the president is illegal,” Nasir added. He also questioned the government’s silence over Hussain’s release.

Jibran added that the decision to release him was made behind closed doors, but an official in Kot Lakpat jail leaked this information to the media. “The government should clarify whether this remission was granted by the President or with the consent of Khadija because without these two authorities this remission is illegal and in violations of laws,” he said.

Khadija Siddiqui noted that she was attacked in public and there were several eyewitnesses to the crime. The attacker thought he would be able to get away with the crime using his influence, but pressure from civil society and media eventually helped her get justice, she said. Siddiqui wonders if the attacker will now walk free after getting relief because the media hype surrounding her case has died down.

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