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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court today will continue hearing the Shahzeb Khan murder case, which is being re-examined after a civil society petition challenged a Sindh High Court decision ordering a retrial of the case.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the apex court questioned how a third party could be allowed to appeal when the parents of 20-year-old Shahzeb, who was shot dead in Karachi in December 2012, or the state had not appealed against the SHC verdict which set aside terror charges against the suspects.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, also questioned if the case pertained to terrorism, and expressed concern that allowing a third party to challenge judgements could lead to exploitation.
The apex court, however, issued a notice to Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf for today, observing that it was the duty of the court to apply correct law.The SHC had set aside the punishments awarded to accused earlier by an anti-terrorism court and had ordered a retrial of the case in a sessions court. The defence had argued that the accused was a juvenile at the time of the crime.
Members of civil society had approached the Supreme Court against the SHC ruling which set aside the death penalty for Shahrukh Jatoi and others convicted for the 2012 murder of Shahzeb and ordered their retrial.
Ten civil society activists – including Jibran Nasir, Jamshed Raza Mahmood, Afiya Shehrbano Zia, Naeem Sadiq, Nazim Fida Hussain Haji, Zulfiqar Shah, Aquila Ismail, Fahim Zaman Khan, and Naziha Syed Ali – had filed a criminal petition in the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry challenging the SHC’s November 28, 2017 ruling which stated that the murder case does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
In their petition, the civil society members stated that they have the legal standing to file the petition for leave to appeal as they are citizens of Karachi and reside in the same locality – Defence Housing Authority – where the murder took place.
They stated in the petition that the incident was not just of an individual nature, but carried serious repercussions for the society at large.
On December 23, 2017, Jatoi, the son of an influential feudal, and other defendants in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, were released from custody on bail after Shahzeb’s father submitted an affidavit in support of the defendant’s bail application.
Shahzeb was gunned down by Jatoi in a posh locality of Karachi on December 25, 2012.
An ATC in 2013 had awarded death sentences to Jatoi and Siraj Talpur for the murder of Shahzeb, while life sentences were awarded to Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari.