A few weeks ago, amid the pandemic, one news story was making headlines: the Uzma Khan case. Viral videos were leaked on social media before reports emerged, activists raised hue and cry, an FIR was filed, those who weren’t busy morally shaming Uzma Khan tried to rally for justice – but all in vain.
The high profile case, being dealt by Barrister Hassaan Niazi and Khadija Siddiqui aimed at doing the impossible: holding business tycoon Malik Riaz’s daughters and relatives accountable. But, either through coercion or threats, news of a settlement soon aired. A source close to Hassaan Niazi disclosed to ProperGaanda that Uzma Khan’s silence had allegedly been bought with a flat in Dubai and millions in cash. As a result, the FIR was withdrawn, and the whole incident was declared a misunderstanding.
Now that the dust has settled, it is important to question why a settlement was reached in the first place. Was justice through legal means ever a real possibility for Uzma and her sister?
Legal justice aside, Uzma Khan was not even granted the grace of a fair trial by society. By having an adult consensual relationship with a married man, Uzma lost all her chances of winning society’s sympathy even before the trial by social media began. In society’s eye, her crime was much worse than the acts portrayed in the videos; which are quite difficult to ‘misunderstand’ in the first case.
The reality is that Uzma Khan didn’t stand a chance at anything other than a receiving a settlement, and getting a monetary compensation for how she was humiliated in the public eye is something she has a right to claim.
How Uzma Khan feels about the incidents that elapsed can’t be known for sure, because those with power made sure to buy her silence for a long time to come, but a few things can be said with absolute surety. Firstly, no matter the crime, there can be no bigger sin in society’s eyes than a woman who’s character does not align with cultural norms. Secondly, money, privilege and connections will always reign supreme in our country, well above the pursuit of justice.