The age controversy of Shahrukh Jatoi, the prime suspect in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, is finally over. An anti-terrorism court ordered on Monday that the suspect be shifted from the juvenile prison to the central jail after a medical board confirmed his age to be above 19.
The court, headed by Judge Ghulam Mustufa Memon, also directed the case investigation officer to submit a charge sheet on February 19.
Jatoi and three others, Nawab Siraj Ali Talpur, Nawab Sajjad Ali Talpur and their employee Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, face charges of killing Shahzeb Khan, a university student, over a petty dispute in DHA Phase-V on December 25.
Special Public Prosecutor Abdul Maroof produced the report, prepared by a medical board headed by the medical superintendent of the Sindh Government Services Hospital, before the court that stated that Jatoi’s age was between 19 and 20.
Investigation officer Mubeen Ahmed also filed the academic record obtained from the Aitchison College, Lahore; a birth certificate issued by a private hospital in Gulshan-e-Iqbal; and the registration record of a zonal municipal committee that confirmed that the suspect was not a juvenile and should be sent from the youthful offender industrial school to the central prison.
Defence counsel Aamir Mansoob Qureshi expressed reservations over the medical board’s report. He submitted that the board’s constitution was illegal as two of its members were retired doctors.
“The report has been issued under influence and pressure and it is not in accordance with the law.”The defence counsel questioned the authenticity of the birth certificate, pointing out that the mother’s name on the document was Badshazadi, while the name as per the hospital report was Naseem Bibi.
He also had doubts over the college record, noting that the certificate did not carry the name of the suspect’s father, Sikandar Jatoi.
The special public prosecutor submitted that the report was issued without any pressure and the medical board comprised reputed and experienced doctors.
He prayed to the court to send Jatoi to the central prison in light of the medical board report as well as the academic and birth certificates of the accused that clearly mentioned that he was not a juvenile.
The court also took exception to police surgeon and investigation officer disobeying its order with regard to ascertaining the age of Jatoi. Shahzeb’s murder had sparked public outrage and after civil society groups staged several protest demonstrations, the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the incident.
The victim’s father, DSP Aurangzeb, had lodged a report with the Darakhshan police station stating that his son was killed by Shahrukh Jatoi, Nawab Siraj Ali Talpur, Nawab Sajjad Ali Talpur and their employee, whose name was later disclosed as Ghulam Murtaza Lashari.
The police had registered a case against Nawab Siraj Talpur, Nawab Sajjad Talpur, Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, Sikandar Ali Jatoi and his son Shahrukh Jatoi under sections 302 (murder), 354 (assault or criminal force with the intent to outrage woman’s modesty) and 109 (abetment) read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Police escort prime suspects Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Talpur and Sajjad Talpur to an anti-terrorism court for the hearing of the Shahzeb Khan murder case