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SHC gave life imprisonment to Shahrukh Jatoi

13 May, 2019

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KARACHI:  Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur – the two accused in the Shahzeb murder case – were excused from capital punishment and given sentence for life imprisonment on Monday by the Sindh High Court. Life imprisonment was maintained for Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza. The verdict came in the wake for review petitions filed by the accused.

The counsel representing the State highlighted that “Shahrukh’s case cannot be tried under juvenile system”.

Shahrukh’s lawyer further added that an agreement had been reached between the families of the accused and the victim. There was no longer anyone fighting against the accused as “the victim’s father has passed away while his mother and sisters have moved abroad.”

Shortly after the verdict was announced, their names were placed on the ECL.

After Jatoi gunned down 20-year-old son of a Deputy Superintendent of Police Aurangzeb Khan, in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) area on the night of December 24, 2012, he was arrested together with two prime suspects after a SC verdict.

The murder happened after Shahzeb demanded an apology from the accused’s employee for verbally harassing his sister upon their return from a wedding at night. Later, as Shahzeb was driving off at Saba Avenue, he was chased down by Jatoi and shot to death.

The incident caused uproar across the country, leading to a debate about how feudal families can get away scot-free after committing a crime.

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi on 2013 awarded death penalty to Shahrukh and Siraj for the murder of Shahzeb while Sajjad and Ghulam were given life imprisonment.

Shahrukh was handed down an additional three years in prison for illegal possession of a weapon. The ATC directed the convicts to pay a Rs 500, 000 fine each.

It is speculated that under pressure, the victim’s father granted pardon to the accused a few months later.

In November 2017, the SHC ordered a retrial. The defence attorney demanded that terrorism charges be dropped considering the prime suspect was a juvenile at the time of the offence.

In February 2018, the Supreme Court reopened the case in the wake of civil society’s appeals. Terrorism charges against Shahrukh, Siraj and Sajjad too were reframed which, ergo were removed by the SHC.

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