KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan Saturday ordered authorities to put names of the accused in the murder case of Shahzeb Khan on the Exit Control List and further directed federal government to inform all airports regarding the court order.
These orders were issued by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing the appeal of civil society activists against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) retrial order for hearing.
On the outset of proceedings the august bench directed the government and interior ministry to place the names of Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Talpur, Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari on the ECL.
The apex court also directed the interior ministry to issue relevant instructions to all airports in the country. The bench also directed the session court to stop any kinds of proceedings in the case besides issuing arrest warrants of the accused.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan earlier this month had accepted for hearing the appeals challenging Sindh High Court’s (SHC) judgment in Shahzeb Khan Murder Case.
Earlier, a local court in Karachi had summoned details of the out-of-court ‘settlement’ reached between the families of convict Shahrukh Jatoi and the victim Shahzeb Khan here on Friday.
The court also summoned a log of the arguments made before the Sindh High Court (SHC) in the past.
Earlier in December last month, People from different walks of life on Tuesday filed an appeal in Supreme Court of Pakistan against the Sindh High Court’s decision to remove terrorism charges and retry Shahrukh Jatoi and his accomplices in the Shahzeb Khan murder Case.
A month earlier the Sindh High Court bench had set aside the death penalty awarded to Shahrukh Jatoi, son of the feudal lord, who with his accomplices had killed Shahzeb Khan, son of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Defence area of the city in December 2013.
The court’s decision was taken on a criminal review petition filed by Jatoi’s lawyer and PPP stalwart Farooq H Naik, who argued that terrorism charges should be dropped as the prime suspect was a juvenile at the time of the offence.
“We the petitioners like all other residents of Karachi have been deeply affected and aggrieved by Judgment of the Honorable Sindh High Court of 28.11.2017 whereby terror charges were removed against Shahrukh Jatoi and three others in the case of killing of youth Shahzeb Khan, an incident which had horrified and affected all of us,” reads the petition filed by 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 here on Tuesday.
“It is astonishing that a retrial has been ordered in the case where the trial had been concluded four and half years ago. The sole reasoning given by the Honorable High Court is that motive of killing Shahzeb Khan was personal enmity”.
Since then, all accused have been released on bail, this decision of the Honorable High Court is specially of concern given that another Divisional Bench had already noted in 2013 in this very case that the killing of Shahzeb Khan had “created a sense of helplessness and insecurity amongst the people of Defence/Clifton” as keeping in view the manner in which the murder was carried out which involved a car chase and shoot out on a public road in a densely populated area of DHA, the petitioner argued.
Furthermore, not only has the Honorable High Court set a poor precedent by overturning decision of a bench of the same size in the same case on the same issue but has also failed to consider various judgments of the Supreme Court which have well established that it is not only the reason for murdering someone but also the design, manner and circumstances in which the murder was done which determines terrorism, the further submitted.
“In any criminal case the primary responsibility of prosecuting a criminal is that of the State. It was very troubling but not surprising to note that the State abdicated its legal and moral responsibilities as the Prosecutor General conceded to the case of the accused persons in this case and consented to the Judgment of the Sindh High Court”.
Furthermore, for reasons unknown to us the family and legal heirs of Shahzeb Khan have also pardoned the accused, they said and added, “However, we believe that if justice is a mutual concern for all members of society then its pursuit should also be a collective responsibility specially when the crime has not only resulted in a personal loss to the family of the deceased but affected the entire society striking panic, fear, sensation, insecurity and terror”.
It is because of inconsistent application of laws and meddling of power and influence in investigation and prosecution of criminal cases including those related to terrorism that such horrifying acts continue to take place in society where killers roam around with impunity creating a mockery of our laws and justice system continuing to terrorize citizens”.
Accordingly, the appellant said, we have today filed an appeal before the Honorable Supreme Court against Judgment of the Honorable Sindh High Court of 28.11.2017 and as part of which appeal we have also prayed that operation of the said Judgment should be suspended, and all four accused including Shahrukh Jatoi should be arrested and taken in judicial custody.
“It is our moral and constitutional duty to not allow our criminal justice system to be reduced to a private dispute settlement system and ensure deterrence and protection against such crimes through strict implementation of the laws in letter and spirit” the appellants have concluded.