Karachi: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday issued orders to put names of the accused in the murder case of Shahzeb Khan on the Exit Control List (ECL), as it accepted the appeal of civil society activists against the Sindh High Court's (SHC) retrial order for hearing.
The apex court also ordered the interior secretary to place the names of Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Talpur, Sajjad Talpur and their employee Ghulam Murtaza Lashari on the ECL so as to bar them from leaving the country.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, directed the SHC government to ensure that the order about ECL was communicated to all airports in the country.
The court also issued bailable arrest warrants for the suspects and sent out notices to all the respondents in the case, reported local media.
Members of civil society had approached the Supreme Court against the SHC ruling which set aside the death penalty for Shahrukh Jatoi and others convicted for the 2012 murder of Shahzeb and ordered their retrial by a sessions court.
Ten civil society activists — including Jibran Nasir, Jamshed Raza Mahmood, Afiya Shehrbano Zia, Naeem Sadiq, Nazim Fida Hussain Haji, Zulfiqar Shah, Aquila Ismail, Fahim Zaman Khan, and Naziha Syed Ali — had filed a criminal petition in the Supreme Court's Karachi Registry challenging the SHC’s November 28, 2017 ruling which stated that the murder case does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
“When a murderer leaves a court making Victory signs he mocks our laws & society. We wont allow our nation to be mocked by criminals. Stop thinking of yourself as "baybas awaam (helpless nation)" & act like "ba-ikhtiar awaam (self-control nation)". For rule of law we must demand accountability of all including ourselves,” stated Jibran Nasir on his twitter account.
In the petition, the civil society members stated that they have the legal standing to file the petition for leave to appeal as they are citizens of Karachi and reside in the same locality – Defence Housing Authority – where the murder took place.
They stated in the petition that the incident was not just of an individual nature, but carried serious repercussions for the society at large. On December 23, 2017, Jatoi, the son of an influential feudal, and other defendants in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, were released from custody on bail after Shahzeb’s father submitted an affidavit in support of the defendant's bail application, reported local media.
On the night of December 24, 2012, 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan, the son of Deputy Superintendent of Police Aurangzeb Khan, had been gunned down in Karachi's Defence Housing Authority. He was returning home with his sister from a wedding.
Shahzeb was killed for picking a fight with one of the suspects' servants, who had verbally threatened and harassed his sister.
Then Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of the incident, which sparked widespread outrage across the country through newspapers, TV channels and social media.
As the prime accused belonged to powerful feudal families of Sindh, the incident had triggered a nationwide debate over whether the country’s elite could be held accountable for crimes they committed.
Later, after a speedy trial, Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of Anti-Terrorism Court-3 sentenced Shahrukh Jatoi and co-accused Nawab Siraj Talpur to death. Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, the Talpurs’ servant, were handed life imprisonment for their involvement in the murder.
A couple of months after the sentence, however, Shahzeb's parents had issued a formal pardon to the convicts.