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Shahzeb murder case: SHC commutes Jatoi, Talpur’s death penalty into life term

May 14, 2019

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) commuted the death sentences handed to Shahrukh Jatoi and Nawab Siraj Talpur in the Shahzeb Khan murder case into life imprisonment as it announced its verdict on their appeals on Monday.

Announcing the verdict, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Nazar Akbar upheld the life imprisonment of two other suspects — Ghulam Murtaza Lashari and Sajjad Talpur.

“Since the legal heirs of deceased Shahzeb have compounded the offence of Qatl-i-amad under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code, therefore, along the lines of dictum laid down by the Supreme Court with regard to the impact and effect of compounding offences under the provisions of PPC and Anti Terrorism Act 1997 the Special ATA Appeal No 19 and 25, 2013, to the extent of Nawab Siraj Ali Talpur and Shahrukh Jatoi are partly allowed,” read the verdict.

It added that the death sentence awarded to Jatoi and Talpur was reduced from death penalty to life imprisonment under Section 7 (a) of Anti Terrorism Act 1997.

During the hearing, the counsel representing the state pointed out that the prime accused was declared an adult aged above 18 years by a medical board, adding Jatoi’s case cannot be tried under juvenile laws.

Jatoi’s lawyer said the families of the victim and the accused had reached an agreement and requested the court to acquit all the accused.

He said the victim’s father had passed away and his mother and sisters had moved abroad.

It may be mentioned here that former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had ordered the SHC to decide the Shahzeb Khan murder case at the earliest. Khan, the 20-year-old son of former deputy superintendent of police Aurangzeb Khan, was gunned down in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) area on the night of December 24, 2012.

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in 2013 had awarded death sentences to Jatoi and Talpur in the murder case, while life sentences were awarded to Sajjad Talpur and Murtaza Lashari. However, a few months after the verdict the victim’s father granted a pardon to the accused.

In November 2017, the SHC decided on a criminal review petition and set aside the capital punishment awarded to the accused and ordered a retrial. Jatoi and other suspects were also released on bail on SHC order. The defence counsel had argued for the terrorism charges to be dropped considering the prime suspect was a juvenile at the time of the offence.

In February 2018, the Supreme Court turned petitions by civil society into a suo motu notice and set aside the 2017 SHC decision ordering a retrial. The apex court also restored terrorism charges framed against the accused, which were removed by the SHC. The Supreme Court ruled that bails granted to the accused were against the law.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, the accused were taken into custody in Islamabad and handed over to the Sindh Police. Their names were also placed on the Exit Control List. —Sabah/News Desk