Thursday Jun 14, 2018
It is not easy to walk around with 23 scars on my neck and back. It is not easy to sleep on one side and to wake up panicking in the middle of the night. But that is how I have been living, day in and day out, for the past two years.
Every morning is a struggle to not lose my mind to the stitches holding together my sore wounds. I have hope that one day it would not hurt anymore and I would be able to show my cuts openly to the world. That will be the day when I see him behind bars again, punished for what he did, after which women in Pakistan would no longer have to silently bear abuse and violence.
On June 4, at around 4pm, as I was rushing to the courtroom, I got a phone call from my lawyer. “He’s been acquitted,” he said after a long pause. I must have heard wrong, I thought. That’s not possible. My head began to spin. How could that be? How could the entire proceedings be overturned? “I haven’t seen the detailed judgement as yet,” he continued, “but I can’t imagine what must be in it.” I still couldn’t wrap my head around the first part: he had been set free. Was it all for nothing?
As I reached the court, the news spread like wildfire. There was a lot of anger on the social media. Let me tell you that I have always been pro-judicial activism. I like how our chief justice works. But, how could this be right? Why was the monster let loose?
This was supposed to be a historic verdict. This was supposed to set an example for other women. But here I was, after a strenuous two-year trial, back to square one, not knowing what hurt more; my heart or my shattered hopes.
On Monday, at a Supreme Court hearing, I saw the man who tried to kill me again. He looked satisfied, smiling proudly at those gathered. It was like he knew, the powerful can win in this country. It felt like another knife had been plunged into me. Even when the trial was ongoing in the Lahore High Court, they, Shah Hussain and his father, would warn my family to compromise, warning us that if we didn’t then it would get dirty. “It was both their fault,” his father, a lawyer, had once said. “My son can do no wrong. He is above the law.” Maybe that is what kept us going it the courtroom, those hurtful words, those threats, intimidations and manipulations.
The character assassination I have faced with has been horrendous, to say the least. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. They would dig up old pictures of me without a hijab and say, “Look, she is that kind of a girl. She sits with boys.” Last July, I went through a six-hour cross-examination where it was brought up that I studied in a co-education, I had friends who were boys and that my character was not morally sound. My honour was questioned time and again. And no one questioned his honour.
He stabbed me 23 times, leaving me in a pool of blood. He hid his face behind a helmet when he came to kill me. He must have hoped that no one would see him, but then his helmet came off when my driver pushed him and we saw his face: me, my driver and my sister. And yet, even without the helmet, his true identity remains hidden.
Shah Hussain is a coward.
The high court judgement is weak. It has major loopholes. One of them being my younger sister’s role. She was an eyewitness, yet she was not mentioned once in the judgement. I am hoping for the supreme court verdict to come out within the next two months since it is a suo moto case. Till then, I want people to know that my aim is not to put him behind bars. My motive is simple; to fight till the end, to fight till my scars stop hurting, to fight till I get a good night’s sleep and to show the world that no one is above the law
Khadija Siddiqui, 23, is a lawyer. She was attacked two years ago in Lahore by Shah Hussain. On June 4, the Lahore High Court acquitted the accused. The case is now in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Note: The views expressed in the article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geo News or the Jang Group.