LAHORE -  We live in a land where powerful criminals can commit crimes in broad day light yet go scot free, by using the loopholes in the judicial system.

Probably here in ours the blindfolded Lady Justice does not symbolise impartiality and neutrality; rather, it shows that the justice system is blind – really and figuratively.

A girl is repeatedly stabbed by a brute in front of a hundred eyes and an FIR is registered. The trial goes on for months and the culprit is sentenced. But then the case moves up to higher echelons, the punishment is reduced and then ultimately fully undone.

This is the story of Khadija Siddiqui – which everyone believes, expect some of those who wield the hammer of law in their hand.

The Lahore High Court on Thursday issued a detailed judgment on acquittal of a man convicted on charges of stabbing 23 times his classmate. The court held the prosecution ‘failed to establish the case beyond reasonable doubt’.

On May 3, 2016, Shah Hussain reportedly stabbed his class fellow Khadija Siddiqui on a busy road in the provincial capital in broad daylight. Khadija’s agony came to the spotlight when she was forced to sit an exam with her attacker.

On July 30, 2017 a judicial magistrate sentenced stabber Shah Hussain to seven years in jail.

A sessions court, however, in March this year commuted the rigorous imprisonment by two years awarded by the trial court to Shah and set aside the minor penalties.

In the detailed judgment, Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem of Lahore High Court held: “He (Shah Hussain) is given benefit of doubt and acquitted of the charges.”

In a 12-page detailed judgment on criminal revision moved by Shah, Justice Naeem said: “The attack took place on a thoroughfare in broad daylight but no independent witness was cited by the prosecution. During the cross examination, the injured admitted that she had different friends and had her photographs with all of them in or outside college including the petitioner (Shah Hussain).

“She denied the suggestions that it was a 'high-profile' case or there was some external pressure but acknowledged that Tahmina Durani exercised her influence at a later stage and that the investigating officer also gave similar statement that it was a ‘high-profile case’.”

The judge said the prosecution could not establish the case as there was contradictions and the facts on the basis of which the decision was announced.

He said: “Khadija Siddiqui, the victim and injured eyewitness, had not described the true/complete tale"; and that the attack may have taken place, but not in the manner as described by the eye/injured witnesses.

“On one side, injured Khadija claimed that she was not in her senses and justified to explain the delay, whereas, the prosecution could not prove that Khadija Siddiqui was unconscious as the Medical Officer during her cross examination admitted that she examined her orientation by asking many medical questions including name, place, time, person and she answered “correctly”. On other side, she gone on to depose that the injured told her that a boy attacked upon her with a knife on the road nearly  at 2 pm on that day. She observed eleven injures as mentioned in the medical report, however, at trial she described that the injured sustained 23 injuries.

“The injured being unconscious could not nominate the petitioner (Shah Hussain). They were known to each other. There was no question of mistaken identity.

“The injured regained her senses on May 8, 2016 and nominated the petitioner but it is falsified by the medical officer as she stated that injured told that a boy attacked upon her. She straightforwardly shifted to Services hospital from the place of occurrence.

“But this fact is belied by her medical certificate which reflects that the injured, both, were medically examined by the order of magistrate Section-30, Lahore Cantt, before the registration of FIR,” the judge held.

 “Evidence of eye/injured witnesses, thus, could not be relied upon with any amount of confidence,” he said. He also said: “This aspect of these witnesses had escaped the notice of both the courts below (the two courts which had heard the case earlier) resulting in miscarriage of justice.

The judge also questioned the knife used by the attacker as it was taken into possession after five months of the attack — and why it was not blood stained when it was recovered. He also questioned a discrepancy in the color of the helmet worn by the attacker as described by prosecution witnesses.

He also held that why Khadija had deposed that Hussain harassed her when she "wrote a letter of four pages, proposing him for marriage and had "never complained against the petitioner for any misconduct or harassment and then ruled that he could not believe her as the motive set up by the prosecution comes to the ground.

He also pointed out that injury on a witness is only indication of his presence at the spot but is not affirmative proof of his credibility and truthfulness.

“It is not a universal rule that each and every word coming from the mouth of injured person is truth. “There were also reasons to believe that the investigating officer may have spoilt the case …he could not secure the evidence like the victim’s bloodstained clothes and the mats inside the car which might have carried bloodstains.”