Pakistan student stabbed 23 times fights to see her attacker jailed

Khadija Siddiqui was stabbed 23 times in broad daylight on a busy street in Lahore, but her attacker has walked free. – AFP photo

A Pakistani law student has emerged as a women’s rights crusader after she was stabbed 23 times in a busy street only to see her alleged attacker walk free, igniting outrage across the deeply patriarchal country.

Khadija Siddiqui, 23, survived the frenzied attack in broad daylight outside her sister’s school on a busy thoroughfare in the teeming eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital, in May 2016.

Her sister was also injured as she tried to defend her, and the brazen attack only ended when her driver managed to pull the assailant off and rush Siddiqui to hospital, where she was admitted to intensive care with her neck slashed, her arms wounded, and a deep injury to her back.

Siddiqui named her attacker as Shah Hussain, a classmate whom she had rejected romantically. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison in July 2017.

But Hussain, the son of a prominent Lahori lawyer, appealed the decision — and in a shock judgement released on June 4, the Lahore High Court acquitted him on all charges.

The decision was greeted with an uproar in Pakistan, where hundreds of women are murder