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Khadija Siddiqui stabbing case: Activist, victim call upon govt to clarify remissions granted to attacker

Activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir questioned on Tuesday the early release of Shah Hussain — who was convicted and sentenced for stabbing law student Khadija Siddiqui 23 times — and said that "favouritism" was shown to him.

In 2018, Hussain, the son of a senior lawyer of the Lahore High Court, was sentenced to five years imprisonment after being found guilty in the case. However, it came to light last week that he managed to secure an early release and served only three and a half years of the original sentence.

The development caused an uproar on social media, with many questioning the merit of Hussain's release.




Subsequently, Punjab Prisons Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan had explained in a video statement yesterday that Hussain did not receive any relief in the form of legal remission from any official. Instead, he had availed "technical remissions" which were granted for good conduct and blood donations, Chohan said, adding that the details of the release had been made public.

Talking to a duo of journalists on DawnNews talkshow 'Zara Hut Kay' on Tuesday, Nasir criticised the minister and said: "I am not surprised that Fayyazul Hassan is giving wrong statements with great stubbornness. You qualify for technical remission no matter what you may have done."

He said the nine months given for blood donation, completing the Holy Quran, further education and not breaking any prison law were "understandable".

On the ordinary remission of eight months and eight days granted to Hussain, Nasir said it was given in two cases. Two days against every month on the basis of good behaviour — to be determined via a subjective test by prison authorities — or three days against every month for any daily tasks such as labour.

The activist said the maths didn't compute for the ordinary remission given to Hussain according to the months he spent in jail. "So it means that Shah Hussain has gotten a bonus on some other point," he said, pointing to a prison job of four to five months.

He said that despite claims of a clarification being given on the release, none was actually given and "there is definitely favouritism being witnessed in this. If there was room to give 100 marks out of 100 in the exam, then all of them were given to Shah Hussain."

He added that if the jail authority or prison warden or jail superintendent "showed any discretion or provided any facility then it will be understood [to mean] that the PTI government was doing so" — because the aforementioned authorities come under Chohan's ministry.

Nasir called upon the prisons minister to inform how many other prisoners had been accorded similar treatment. "There should be at least 10 from thousands or is Shah Hussain only that one person."

Siddiqui, meanwhile, criticised Chohan's choice of words in his tweet. "The tweet I saw said 'drop scene of wrong media campaign'. It seems to me my security and the security of a victim and survivor is a 'drop scene' for you as if I said something strange or wrong."

Pushing back, she maintained that she didn't say anything "unusual" and there was a "real threat" to her security.

"My attacker was released by you [...] The state didn't feel it fit to even inform me," she said. Siddiqui added that instead of officials assuring her of security and protection, the situation was only further mishandled.

She questioned whether the "character certificates" issued to her attacker were provided to women in society.

"If you released someone who stabbed [me with] daggers 23 times on the basis of a character certificate then I think all other prisoners should be issued character certificates and released in public."

While speaking on the recent incidents of violence against women, Siddiqui called for reforms of "centuries-old statues", amendments and changes in prison rules. "At least change remission rules so this way how it (Hussain's release) happened without communication I still don't understand," she said.

Siddiqui informed the panel that the deputy inspector general of police (operations) had told her that security arrangements would be made for her and she hoped that security would be provided to her.

Nasir also stressed that it was necessary to issue a restraining order to Hussain and ensure Siddiqui's protection since an encounter between the two was possible with the former free to practice law now.

"The only way for Shah Hussain to get so much remission is the condition of doing a prison job [...] otherwise this is nothing but pure favouritism," said Nasir.

"If this favouritism has been exercised, then it is on the government's end since the jail superintendent or warden are not separate from government."

When questioned whether there were any grounds to appeal against the remission or take legal action against it, the lawyer responded: "It is necessary to give a breakdown of the ordinary remission of eight months and eight days if he (Hussain) was doing a job — otherwise he doesn't qualify."

Nasir said there would be quarterly reports available if Hussain was doing a job and said Chohan could show them to Siddiqui. "If he can't do this [and provide reports] then this is definitely challengeable in law and is illegal."

The activist also questioned why damages were deposited at the jail gate instead of the trial court. "I don't even know whether the trial court that convicted Shah Hussain knows that he has been released from jail so there is still grounds for illegality which could be challenged in law," he said.

He reiterated that Chohan should himself inform Siddiqui about the breakdown of remissions.

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