Mere days after the gruesome murder of Noor Mukadam caused an uproar on social media against the state’s failure to protect women, shock and disbelief spread amongst netizens once again after lawyer Khadija Siddiqi’s attacker was granted an early release from jail.
Shah Hussain, the son of a senior Lahore High Court lawyer, was found guilty of stabbing Siddiqi 23 times with a knife and sentenced to five years in jail. However, last week he managed to secure an early release after serving only three and a half years of his original sentence.
Many people took to social media to question Hussain’s early release. Siddiqi herself posted on Twitter to demand an explanation from Punjab Prisons Minister Fayazul Hassan Chohan.
According to a statement given later by Chohan, Hussain did not receive any relief in the form of legal remission from any official such as the president, the prime minister or the chief minister. Instead he availed “technical remissions”, which are granted for good conduct and blood donations.
Actors, filmmakers and other public figures also demanded answers regarding Hussain’s release and expressed their anger at the turn of events.
Activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir tweeted in support of Siddiqi and asked the government to give clarifications on the matter.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy shared Siddiqi’s tweet on her Instagram and asked why the authorities were not responding to Siddiqi’s concerns about her attacker being released early. “He stabbed her 23 times,” she wrote. “Why is he out of jail early? Why don’t you respond?”
Osman Khalid Butt
Actor Osman Khalid Butt posted on Twitter and said, “While the official news (the thoroughness, specifically) regarding Noor’s case is encouraging, there is only so much hope we can muster when the state and the judiciary continue to fail the women of our country.
“The most recent — and shocking — example of this is Shah Hussain,” Butt emphasised.
Actor Zara Tareen also shared the news about Hussein’s early release and posted, “At this point the hashtag should just be #JusticeFor _______ (insert any woman’s name)”
Superstar actor Mahira Khan expressed her outrage and demanded an explanation from the government for Hussain’s early release.
Actor Mariyam Nafees shared Siddiqi’s post on Hussain’s release and questioned the government on the decision as well.
Actor and cancer activist Nadia Jamil called the move “unethical and illegal” and asked the government not to allow convicted abusers and murderers to be set free.
Filmmaker Jami shared Nasir’s post regarding Hussain’s early release and drew parallels between Siddiqi and Mukadam’s cases in regards to how the state responds to the victims. “[The] state killed Noor if this is the way they behave[d] [towards Siddiqi],” he wrote.
Hussain’s release is a shocking blow to the public that is already reeling after Mukadam’s gruesome murder. People do not understand how someone convicted of such a brutal attack could be released early and avail technical remissions.