SHC CJ forms Bench to decide appeals in Shahzeb case

Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh Monday formed a Special Bench to take up appeals filed by Shahrukh Jatoi and other accused against their conviction under the Anti-Terrorism Law in Shahzeb Khan murder case.
The Bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Nazar Akbar will hear the appeals in compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had taken a Suo Motu notice over a number of appeals filed by members of civil society who challenged November 28 verdict of the SHC that paved the way for the release of Shahrukh Jatoi and others on bail.
He remanded the matter back to the High Court, directing its Chief Justice to form a Special Bench to decide the appeals. Prime suspect Jatoi and other accused were arrested following the Apex Court orders. On November 28, SHC Appellate Bench overturned the sentences awarded to the suspects and sent the case to the Sessions Court. The members of civil society had filed appeals in the Apex Court challenging the Sindh High Court’s November 28 verdict that set aside the sentences awarded to Shahrukh Jatoi and other accused in Shahzeb murder case. The appellants stated that the Sindh High Court erred while overturning Anti-Terrorism Court’s guilty verdict and ordering retrial of the suspects by an ordinary court. Since then the murder had triggered fear and panic among the people, it fell under the Anti-Terrorism Law, they said while pleading with the court to declare the High Court’s judgment null and void.
On December 23, Shahrukh Jatoi and other accused were released after a local court granted them bail when the father of the deceased filed an affidavit in support of their bail applications. Aurangzeb Khan, the victim’s father, submitted an affidavit in the court, confirming that he and the members of his family had pardoned the suspects without any pressure or duress in the name of Allah. He said that an out-of-court settlement was reached with the suspects in 2013. Twenty-year-old Shahzeb Khan, son of a DSP, was gunned down on the night of December 24, 2012 in Karachi’s Defence Housing Society.
The incident had sparked widespread outrage across the country and attracted much media attention, prompting the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take Suo Motu notice of the murder.
Jatoi, and his friend Siraj Talpur were sentenced to death while his younger brother Sajjad Talpur and their cook Ghulam Murtaza Lashari were awarded life imprison by an Anti-Terrorism Court.
Subsequently, the convicts challenged their sentences in the High Court, requesting it to set the sentences aside. The SHC Appellate Bench overturned their sentences and sent the case back to Sessions Court to conduct the trial of the suspects afresh.—NNI

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