Civil activists move SC against SHC’s retrial order in Shahzeb murder case


KARACHI: A group of citizens from Karachi on Tuesday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) recent order for a retrial in the murder case of Shahzeb Khan.

Led by political activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir, the group has filed an appeal as a third party in the case. Their legal claim is that those appealing have faced considerable aggravation by the order of the SHC.

“I myself will file a petition as the petitioner along with like-minded citizens from Karachi before the Supreme Court on December 26,” Nasir had revealed on a television show recently.

“What keeps a society safe and functioning is governance. It is in the absence of this governance that activism has to take its place because the government is not doing its job. It is this responsibility that we want to take on” he added.

According to details, a review petition can be filed by either of the parties involved in the case. However, there is also provision for any concerned citizens that have been aggrieved by an order of a court of law to take action.

The last date to file a petition against the SHC’s decision to free Shahrukh Jatoi and his accomplices was December 26.

The lawyer also argued that removing the anti-terrorism charges from the case and ordering the retrial was against anti-terrorism laws and the earlier precedent set by the SHC in this very case. He said that former Chief Justice of the SHC Sajjad Ali Shah, who has now been elevated to the Supreme Court, had back then said that the incident had resulted in the spread of fear and insecurity in different areas of Karachi.

“Anti-terrorism laws are not only for terrorist organisations but also for sectarian violence and heinous crimes,” Nasir said on his TV interview.

“The fact that Shahrukh Jatoi’s actions lead to citizens fearing for their lives and safety makes it a heinous crime in line with anti-terror laws. You can call it a terrorist act or a heinous crime but the legal repercussions are the same and the actions fit the bill,” he was quoted as saying.

Shahrukh Jatoi and his accomplices had been sentenced to death for the murder of Shahzeb Khan back in June 2013 and then pardoned by the victim’s family in September of the same year. In August 2016 the SHC had agreed to partially listen to the review application for Jatoi and in November 2017 the SHC had ordered the retrial.

Earlier, Nasir had hinted at the petition when the victim’s family asked the courts to release Shahrukh Jatoi saying, “Don’t want to comment on reasons behind decision of Shahzeb’s father but Shahrukh Jatoi’s actions affected all of us terrorising residents of the area who all have been aggrieved by the SHC’s flawed decision to order a retrial paving way for his acquittal.”