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Was it Really THAT Important to Give Shah Hussain Airtime?

Was it Really THAT Important to Give Shah Hussain Airtime?

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Shah Hussain is Khadija Siddique’s alleged attacker who approached and stabbed her 23 times in broad daylight. This led to an extensive case in court that led to his eventual acquittal by a verdict of the court. Since then people have voiced their disappointment and concern over the fact that the likes of Shah Hussain can walk freely.

Keeping in view that Hussain has repeatedly claimed that his voice has been silenced throughout the proceedings, his interview was conducted by Ali Moeen Nawazish and posted on his Facebook page two days ago.

The video opens with an almost 4-minute long disclaimer by Nawazish himself as he explicitly states for the audience that the purpose of the interview is to provide Hussain with a platform to express his opinions freely.

Hussain talks about how his case was sent to the magisterial court that left him with a 7 year jail time suspension. It was later sent to the session court after Hussain filed for an appeal bringing his jail time down to 5 years. Soon after Hussain filed a revision at the Lahore High Court and the decision was his acquittal.

Hussain talks about how his side of the story faced an unjust bias especially from social media that mostly stems from his gender. He reiterates that Khadija’s case received support because of her social media presence – an aspect in which he lacks.

Hussain discloses the nature of his relationship with Siddique and reveals the dynamics of their rapport with her as class fellows. Hussain claimed that the contents of the letter given to him by Siddique are such that they cannot be spoken about on national television. He states that it was her level of “desperation” that forced her to put him on the spot and not anyone else.

Shah Hussain remarked that the DNA reports and the footage were both rejected by the court and were not considered part of the evidence. Tehmina Durrani’s involvement in the case was called an act of convenience after 2 of the forensic reports against Hussain were rejected and called inconclusive.

Hussain provided documented evidence to back his case claiming that he was nominated as the attacker 5 days posts the attack whilst initially, the attacker was called a “stranger” by Siddique herself. He reported that the attacker also did so 12 times that was pushed up to 23 to magnify Siddique’s tragedy.

This video is a testament to how we treat victim-perpetrator situations generally. Not just in Pakistan but his narrative of giving equal space to a victim and perpetrator is problematic. Sure, the courts decided in favor of the accused and there may have been some judicial reasons for doing so. But the court proceedings ran quite contrary to the public opinion in which Khadijah song with Mohammad Jibran Nasir managed to get people to at least raise their voices and demand justice.

Moreover, the inherent power dynamics between the prosecution and defense cannot be ignored. Shah struggled to go through the channels of public justice, whereas the alleged perpetrator managed to get his initial sentence first reduced and then was allowed to walk completely free. He was the son of an influential senior lawyer and that cannot be ignored when assessing whether justice has in fact been served.

Ali Moeen Nawazish taking his interview in the name of ‘listening’ to both sides’, has undone the validity of the grassroots movement for accountability that Khadijah, Jibran Nasir, and many others are trying to fight for. Let’s not pass off everything as a case of seeing the flip side of the coin. As long as an alleged perpetrator with a reasonable cause for doubt faces such public acceptance, justice will not be served.

Moreover, it empowers other nut-cracks to move more freely without fear of consequences. So really Mr. Moeen Nawazish, think before you try to act all impartial. Impartiality hurts us as citizens a whole lot more than the courts potentially giving an unjust verdict.

You can watch the complete interview here:

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Rida Khalid

An English Literature graduate with a passion for Psychology. An avid reader, writer, poet (self-proclaimed) and part-time fitness trainer. Currently working with NIC, Lahore. I spin words to make my narcissistic wit sound like diffident profundity. The above feels a lot like braggadocio, meh!

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