SHC reserves verdict on Shahzeb murder case

KARACHI:Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday reserved verdict on Shahzeb murder case after hearing arguments of both counsels.

A two-member bench of the SHC headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and comprising Justice Nazar Akbar heard the pleas filed by accused Shahrukh Jatoi and others against death sentence and life imprisonment awarded to them by Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC). The bench reserved its verdict.

The bench was told that the witness of the case and Shahzaib’s father Aurangzaib Khan had already passed away and he has left behind two daughters and widow.

Shahzeb’s family lawyer told the court that these three women are living out of country and they do not want to appear before the court.

He said this could be confirmed if the court registrar or any other official contact the Shahzeb’s family through Skype or any other source.

Advocate Mehmood Alam Rizvi further told the court that Pakistani media is present in England but these women are fed up with social media. ‘’The prosecutor has already raised objections over an agreement between the affected family and accused,’’ he told the court.

Another advocate, Zafar Ahmed, told the bench that agreement could not be produced before the court without the consent of Special Public Prosecutor.

The bench remarked that at least the address of the family of the victim should be made on the record.

The defence counsel argued that family is settled abroad and they do not have any threat from accused but they are afraid of social media.

The bench remarked that a case may be registered against those from whom the family is afraid.

The counsel said after the agreement, social media has become their enemy.

He told the court that after conducting inquiry the sessions court had declared the agreement as free from pressure. The bench was further told that agreement was submitted by the counsel of accused.

The both counsels completed their arguments on the case and submitted their arguments in written.

In this case Jatoi and Nawab Siraj Talpur were given death sentences, while Nawab Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari were awarded life imprisonment on June 07 2013.

On February 1 2018, Jatoi and two other accused were arrested again on the Supreme Court’s order as the apex court changed the appeal in Shahzeb Khan murder case into suo motu action, and nullified the SHC order to remove charges of terrorism on Jatoi. Consequently, the bail issued by SHC to Jatoi was dismissed.

SC had also ordered to place the names of the suspects on Exit Control List (ECL).

As soon as the top court announced its order, the suspects were taken into custody from the courtroom. The other suspects include Siraj Talpur and Sajjad Talpur.

In December 2017, Jatoi and other suspects were released on bail on order of the SHC. The court ordered the suspects to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 lac for the approval of bail plea. The decision was made after Shahzeb’s father submitted agreement’s copy in the court. “Shahzeb’s family forgave (Shahrukh Jatoi) in the name of Allah. They didn’t take any cash,” the agreement said.

SHC had also suspended death sentences awarded to criminals Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur, saying that the sessions court would look into the terror sections in the case.

Shahzeb Khan, a Karachi student was murdered in December 2012 and son of a feudal Shahrukh Jatoi among four criminals were awarded sentences by an anti-terrorism court. Jatoi and Talpur were sentenced to death while Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari were sentenced to life imprisonments.

However, an affidavit was filed with the court by the father of the slain student, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Aurangzeb Khan, and his wife in 2013 pardoning both the murderers and the accomplices.