KARACHI - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi Friday awarded death sentence to Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur in Shahzeb murder case while the other two accused, Sajjad Talpur and Murtaza Lashari, were given life imprisonment.
Judge Mustafa Memon of the ATC awarded death sentence to Sharukh Jatoi, who is the son of a wealthy man having strong clout in the power corridors.
According to the judgment, all four convicts will have to pay a fine of Rs500,000 while Sajjad Talpur and Murtaza Lashari will serve an additional one-year imprisonment for harassing Shahzeb's sister.
Shahzeb Khan, 20, was shot dead on the night between December 24 and 25 last year. Seven people including Shahrukh Jatoi, Nawab Siraj Talpur, his brother Sajjad Talpur and their servant Murtaza Lashari were booked in the murder case.  The court declared three accused absconders as they were still at large.
Under anti-terrorism law, cases are decided within seven days but proceedings in this case were completed in two months and 20 days.
The ATC had upheld its decision of declaring Shahrukh an adult after reviewing the ossification report and other evidence.
TV channels aired video of an apparently remorseless Jatoi making a victory sign and smiling as police pushed him towards a prison van after the court announced its verdict. According to reports, as soon as the judgment was announced, Jatoi's brother got into an argument with the judge and had to be taken out of the court premises.
Due to that, the convicts were immediately sent to jail and their signatures were not taken on the detailed judgment. However, the court called them back and they signed the judgment.
All four convicts denied the charges against them and the case will go to appeal.
The family members of convicts said that they would file appeal against the court's judgment. Moreover, Jatoi's lawyer said he would file an appeal within seven days after today's judgment. According to him, the investigation in the case was flawed from the beginning.
Another lawyer, Kamal Azfar, had recently filed a petition in the Sindh High Court to revisit the evidence on the weapon from which Jatoi fired at Shahzeb. That petition was also rejected today.
Shahrukh Jatoi’s father is said to be close to President Asif Ali Zardari and his family used influence to stop police from registering a murder case initially, until street protests and a social media campaign led to the chief justice taking notice and ordering an investigation.
Police were galvanised into action after activists on social media and networking sites in the city sprang into action over the 20-year-old's death. They held protests and used Twitter and Facebook to spread word about the case. Protests were also organised by Imran Khan's PTI party.
As the campaign grew in momentum, the Supreme Court ordered police to arrest the suspected killers in addition to seizing their property and freezing their bank accounts.
Murders are common in Karachi, with around 250 people killed every month in recent years, but the Jatoi case touched a nerve.
Throughout Pakistan, people from powerful families are seen as largely untouchable, able to use their wealth and connections to halt inconvenient investigations.
There were rumours that Jatoi's father Sikandar Jatoi, who owns a cement factory and TV station as well as a real estate business in United Arab Emirates, had offered blood money to Khan's family to drop the case.
But Khan's father Aurangzeb Khan told reporters he had never been pressured to accept money, while his wife Ambreen said it was important to the family to see justice done for Shahzeb.
He said that justice had been served after the ATC awarded death sentences to Shahrukh Jatoi and Siarj Talpur.
He thanked the media and people for their support. "The children of the rich are not bad; rather it is their fostering which is at fault."
"We took stand for the children of the nation and for their safety as no son of rich men could dare repeat it," a tearful Ambreen said outside the family home.
"Nothing could compensate our loss and I want him executed who fired bullet on my beloved son."