Murder of Shahzeb Khan: Shahrukh Jatoi failed to appear before court today – Will justice prevail?

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Accused in many cases, including resorting to fraudulent means to flee abroad, Shahrukh Jatoi and others have not been indicted despite a lapse of five years as jail officials have failed to present the culprit in court. The case was continuously transferred from one court to another during the past five years.

The case has now been transferred to the District and Sessions Court, Malir. The failure of jail officials to present Shahrukh in court prompted the judicial magistrate of Malir to delay the indictment and postpone the hearing till next week.

December 24, 2012. After the murder, Bilawal House protocol officer Wasi had helped the culprit and his brother, Nawab Jatoi, flee abroad, using the VIP gate at the airport without any immigration procedure on December 27.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had presented Shahrukh in court in January 2013 after bringing him back from abroad. The anti-terrorism court had sentenced the culprit to death in June 2013 and the FIA had submitted another challan against the accused within two months for illegally leaving the country. However, in September 2013, Khan’s family filed an affidavit, pardoning the accused.

Several people had been nominated in the challan, which include the culprit’s brother, the Bilawal House protocol officer, officials of the travel agency named Abu Bakr, Umar, Zakariya, agent Salman and factory director Khurram. All the accused are out on bail except Shahrukh.

Courts have also issued show cause notices to the jail officials for not presenting the culprit in court. When the court took strict action, the jail officials said that since the culprit had been convicted, he could not be presented in court due to security risks. However, when the court summoned a reply from the interior ministry, it had, on the request of the jail officials, transferred the case to the jail.

For two years, the FIA could not provide the accused with a copy of the case. The judge went to the jail to hear the case but due to the absence of lawyers and lack of interest shown by the prosecutor, the case could not proceed. The judge himself was eventually transferred as well, further delaying the case. The judge has once again transferred the case to another court.

The court had issued a production order for the culprit yet the jail officials still did not present him in court. Due to Shahrukh’s absence, the court has delayed the indictment and the hearing till next week.

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Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.

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