SHC puts off hearing of Shahzeb murder case

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court’s (SHC) special bench on Monday adjourned the hearing of student Shahzeb Khan murder case until March 12 after partially hearing the arguments of the counsels representing accused persons

The special bench comprising Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Nazar Akbar that was constituted on the directives of the Supreme Court (SC) heard the arguments of the lawyers representing accused Siraj Talpur and Sajjad Talpur.

The apex court while hearing the application of civil rights activists had annulled the high court’s verdict that set aside the conviction awarded to the accused and ordered retrial of the case under Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. The SC had also directed the high court to decide the case within two months.

After hearing the arguments of defence counsels partially, the bench put off the hearing till March 12 and directed the lawyers to continue their arguments in the next hearing.

In the outset hearing, Farooq H Naek who was representing the prime accused Shahrukh Jatoi had said that his client was juvenile at the time of committing the crime; therefore, he should not be tried under ATC.

The court had maintained that this application could be heard separately, as this bench was constituted to decide the case within stipulated time.

Earlier on Nov 28 last year, the SHC bench headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar had set aside the capital punishment of Shahrukh Jatoi and Nawab Siraj Talpur and life imprisonment of Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari awarded by Anti-Terrorism Court.

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 campaigners had 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).

The apex court had ordered the arrest of all the accused persons and retrial of the case under ATA.