KARACHI - Civil society activists on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court against Sindh High Court (SHC) verdict which set aside the death penalty for Shahrukh Jatoi and others convicted in the Shahzeb Khan murder case.

Ten civil society activists including Muhammad 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 have filed a criminal petition in the Supreme Court Karachi registry challenging the SHC 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 have 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 have stated in the petition that the incident was not just of an individual nature, but carried serious repercussions for the society at large.

The incident created fear and panic among residents of the area, which the members say they consider as enough grounds to file the case as a public interest appeal on behalf of the people of Karachi. “What keeps a society safe and functioning is governance. It is in the absence of this governance that activism has to take its place because the government is not doing its job” the petition said.

The lawyer Jibran Nasir also argued that removing the anti-terrorism charges from the case and ordering the retrial was against anti-terrorism laws and the earlier precedent set by the SHC in this very case. He said that former Chief Justice of the SHC Sajjad Ali Shah, who has now been elevated to the Supreme Court, had back then said that the incident had resulted in the spread of fear and insecurity in different areas of Karachi.

“Anti-terrorism laws are not only for terrorist organisations but also for sectarian violence and heinous crimes,” Nasir said on his TV interview.