Activists challenge SHC ruling in Shahzeb Khan murder case

A group of civil society activists have approached the Supreme Court (SC) against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) ruling in the Shahzeb Khan murder case.

The SHC set aside the death penalty for Shahrukh Jatoi and others convicted in the Shahzeb Khan murder case.

Civil society activists 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 filed a petition in the SC Karachi registry, challenging the SHC’s November 28 ruling that stated that the murder case does not fall within the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

In a press release issued by the activists, they say that they “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”.

“Not only has the Honourable 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.”

According to the petition, the civil society members 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. The petition says that “the unfortunate and gruesome murder of the deceased person resulted in striking terror and created fear, panic, sensation, helplessness and insecurity amongst the people residing in the Defence and Clifton vicinity and the public in general in Karachi and Pakistan”.

The petition added that “for unexplainable reasons, even the legal heirs of the deceased persons consented to the impugned judgment although they had rigorously contested the case in the trial court and as a consequence, they are unlikely to file any appeal”.

On December 23, Shahrukh 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 Khan’s father, Aurangzeb Khan, had earlier asked the sessions court to not only release the four men earlier convicted of his son’s murder on bail, but also drop the case against them completely, arguing that his family had earlier pardoned his son’s killers and asked that their decision be upheld.

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