Karachi (HRNW): The Supreme Court on Saturday directed the authorities concerned to put the names of Shahrukh Jatoi and other suspects in Shahzeb Khan murder case on the ECL. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib, gave this direction while hearing the appeals assailing the verdict that led to the release of key suspect Shahrukh Jatoi and other convicts on bail at Karachi registry. While admitting the appeals for hearing, the bench ordered issuance of bailable warrants for the arrest of all the suspects. It also issued notices to the parties involved in the case to submit their response. Members of civil society had filed appeals in the apex court challenging the Sindh High Court’s November 28 verdict that set aside the sentences awarded to Shahrukh Jatoi and other accused in the case.
At the outset, CJP Nisar observed that since the appellants were not complainants in the case, the court will have to see whether they have locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an appeal to a court) to file the appeals. Advocate Faisal Siddiqui, who represented the appellants, contended the state was protecting the suspects in the high-profile murder case. The top court had vast powers to hear and decide the appeals, he argued. Earlier, the appellants had stated that the Sindh High Court erred while overturning an anti-terrorism court’s guilty verdict and ordering retrial of the suspects by an ordinary court. Since the murder had triggered fear and panic among the people, it fell under the anti-terrorism law, they said while pleading with the court to declare the high court’s judgment null and void. On December 23, Shahrukh Jatoi and other accused were released after a local court granted them bail when the father of the deceased filed an affidavit in support of their bail applications.
Aurangzeb Khan, the victim’s father, submitted an affidavit in the court, confirming that he and members of his family had pardoned the suspects without any pressure or duress in the name of Allah. He added that an out-of-court settlement was reached with the suspects back in 2013. Twenty-year-old Shahzeb Khan, son of a DSP, was gunned down on the night of December 24, 2012 in Karachi’s Defence Housing Society. The incident had sparked widespread outrage across the country and attracted much media attention, prompting the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the murder. Jatoi, and his friend Siraj Talpur were sentenced to death while his younger brother Sajjad Talpur and their cook Ghulam Murtaza Lashari were awarded life in prison by an anti-terrorism court. Subsequently, the convicts challenged their sentences in the high court, requesting it to set the sentences aside. The SHC appellate bench overturned their sentences and sent the case back to a sessions court to conduct the trial of the suspects afresh.