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Friday January 27, 2023

Shahrukh Jatoi, others acquitted by SC in Shahzeb murder case

Jatoi’s lawyer says parties had already reached agreement, client didn’t have intention of spreading terror

October 18, 2022
Shahrukh Jatoi and his friend Nawab Siraj Talpur were sentenced to death in June 2013 for killing 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan in Karachi on Dec 25, 2012. ─ AFP/File
Shahrukh Jatoi and his friend Nawab Siraj Talpur were sentenced to death in June 2013 for killing 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan in Karachi on Dec 25, 2012. ─ AFP/File

In a major development, death row inmate Shahrukh Jatoi — the main accused in the high profile Shahzeb Khan murder case — was acquitted by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

The other convicts in the case were also acquitted.

Shahzeb Khan, 20, was shot dead on the night between December 24 and 25 in 2012.

An anti-terrorism court in 2013 had awarded death sentences to Shahrukh Jatoi, the son of an influential feudal lord, and Siraj Talpur for the murder of Shahzeb, while life sentences were awarded to Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari.

However, the parents of deceased Shahzeb Khan decided to pardon the culprits responsible for the murder of their son. The family filed an affidavit with the court pardoning the men accused of killing their only son.

Speaking to a private news channel in 2013, the victim’s mother Ambreen Aurangzeb had reportedly said: “We may not have forgiven them in our hearts, but we have pardoned our son’s killers in the name of Allah. We cannot spend our entire lives in fear… we took the decision considering the circumstances.”

Despite the pardon, the death penalty had been upheld due to the inclusion of terrorism charges in the case — until the SHC struck down the charges and ordered a retrial in the case in 2017. 

However, Supreme Court took a sou motu action in 2018 and nullified the SHC order.

The convicts, after the SHC commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment in 2019, approached the apex court for acquittal on ground of the pardon granted by Shahzeb's family.

At the outset of today's hearing the accused’s lawyer Latif Khosa told the three-member bench, headed by Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, that the parties in the case have already reached a settlement.

Khosa told the bench that his clients had no plans of spreading terror, adding that the murder case was painted as a terrorist activity.