SC orders placing names of Shahzaib’s murderers in ECL, issues arrest warrants

KARACHI: Directing the interior ministry to place the names of Shahrukh Jatoi, the prime accused in student Shahzaib Khan murder case, and other suspects in Exit Control List (ECL), the Supreme Court sought comments from all the respondents on the civil rights campaigners’ the criminal petition against their release.

While hearing the petition at its Karachi registry, the apex court’s full bench, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah also issued bail-able warrants for the arrest of all suspects — Shahrukh Jatoi, Nawab Siraj Talpur, Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari—.

The court ordered that ministry of interior and all airports of the country should be informed about the suspects names’ inclusion in ECL.

In the outset of the hearing, Faisal Siddiqui representing the petitioners argued that Shahrukh and Nawab were awarded capital punishments while Sajjad and Ghulam got life imprisonments from a trial court which found all of them guilty of the offence. The Anti-Terrorism Court had heard and decided the case as an offence that falls within the ambit of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Representing Shahrukh, Sardar Latif Khosa argued that the family of the victim had already pardoned the suspects, adding that the matter was deliberately presented as the difference of poor and rich. He said that it was the crime to be a son of a rich person. The counsel of another suspect Ghulam, Dr Babar Awan argued that the case did not fall within the ambit of ATA and should be tried in a regular court.

After hearing the arguments, the court issued notices to all the respondents and ordered that the names of all accused be placed in ECL. Besides, the court also issued bail-able warrants for the arrest of all suspects.

Earlier on Nov 28, the SHC had set-aside the capital punishments of Shahrukh Jatoi and Nawab Siraj Talpur and life imprisonments of Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari. The high court had also ruled that this case did not come within the jurisdiction of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and would be tried by the ordinary court.

Later on, all accused persons including the prime one Jatoi, were granted bails by the District and Sessions Judge as the victim’s father had filed an affidavit of pardoning all of them.

Following their release, the civil rights activists— Muhammad Jibran Nasir, Jamshed Raza Mahmood, Afiya Shehrbano Zia, Naeem Sadiq, Nazim Fida Hussain Haji, Karamat Ali, Zulfiqar Shah, Aquila Ismail, Fahim Zaman Khan and Naziha Syed Ali— approached the apex court, asking it to set-aside the SHC judgment and ruled that the case should be tired by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC).

A group of the petitioners comprising artist, author, advocate, teacher, journalist, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation former administrator and common citizens, cited the state and all the accused persons as the respondents and prayed to the apex court to set aside the judgment of the SHC.

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