The Lahore High Court on Monday acquitted a man convicted earlier on charges of trying to kill his fellow student in a brutal knife attack.

Khadija Siddiqui was attacked by her class fellow Shah Hussain, on May 3, 2016, near Shimla Hill where she, along with her driver, had gone to pick her younger sister from school.

Both sisters were about to get into their car when the helmet-wearing suspect attacked Khadija with a knife and stabbed her 23 times, leaving her critically injured.

A judicial magistrate had on July 29, 2017 handed down seven-year rigorous imprisonment to Hussain after finding him guilty of attempted murder. However, a sessions court in March this year set aside the minor penalties of the convict and commuted the sentenced to five years.

Shah Hussain, the son of a senior lawyer, had challenged the conviction in the sessions court while victim Khadija had also filed an appeal, but for the enhancement of the punishment handed down to the convict.

The sessions judge, however, had dismissed appeal of the victim and partially allowed the appeal of the convict reducing his imprisonment to five years.

Hussain then approached the LHC against the five-year imprisonment approved by the sessions court.

Accepting his appeal, Justice Sardar Ahmed Naeem of the LHC on Monday acquitted Hussain after hearing arguments from the lawyers of the defence and prosecution. The judgement was announced through a short order.

The judge who originally tried Hussain in his decision had noted that despite detailed cross-examination of eyewitnesses, nothing came out in favour of the accused. He had further observed that the accused had stabbed the victim mercilessly as severe injuries clearly established that the convict stabbed her without any limit to commit her to death.

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