Barrister Hassaan Niazi, who represented stabbing victim Khadija Siddiqui in court, has called out activist Nighat Dad’s “fraud” over the latter’s claims regarding her role in bringing the culprit to justice.
Now a barrister and then law student Khadija 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.
Dad, a lawyer and activist who runs the not-for-profit organisation Digital Rights Foundation, had on Monday claimed to have “advised Siddiqui on how to spread the word on her case”.
“Khadija Siddiqui initially lost her case in the lower courts because the father of the attacker was the president of the Lahore Bar and they pressured the judges. But Khadija appealed to the Supreme Court. She reached out to me for advice on how to use the internet to spread the word about the case,” she had claimed in an interview to Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
“When cases are pending in courts, you are not allowed to talk publicly about them. But Khadija was like, ‘I’m not going to stop, because I know that technology has so much power and I can reach out to millions of people and get support’. And that’s when we decided that we are not going to obey the court orders.”
Dad went on to claim that she “designed a strategy for social media” and Khadija started tagging people, making short videos, showing her wounds. “On Twitter and Facebook, she got support not only from women’s groups, but also political parties and leaders. And that’s why Khadija won the case,” she said.
It wasn’t later that Niazi, who represented Khadija in the case along with Barrister Salman Safdar and other lawyers, took to Twitter to call out Dad over her claims.
“Nigat Dad this is not even a lie, but a fraud. YOU DID NOT DO ANYTHING FOR KHADIJA,” he wrote while also sharing screengrabs of Nighat’s claims from the interview.
Niazi also accused Dad of “misusing the #MeToo movement for foreign funds and advised actor Meesha Shafi, who is being represented by Dad in her sexual harassment case against musician Ali Zafar, “to change her lawyer”.
The tweet was followed by that of Khadija, who seemed to support Niazi’s statement.
“I have been misquoted completely. I request CFR to please clarify, Barrister Hassaan Niazi was solely responsible for media and social media,” she wrote while also “disagreeing to the facts stated in the article”.
‘THERE’S BEEN A MISUNDERSTANDING’:
Responding to the allegations, Dad said that there had been a misunderstanding.
“It appears there is a misunderstanding. The interview was a longer conversation and like any interview, answers were condensed for length. Supported you all along in your fight, never took credit for your legal or SM team’s work & continue to respect their efforts,” she tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, she wrote:
The excerpts, highlighted by Khadija’s legal team, have been removed from the interview.