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CJP orders transfer of Shahzeb Khan murder case to Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar on Saturday ordered to transfer the appeal of the Shahzeb Khan murder case to Islamabad. 

The chief justice summoned the case file over the appeal which was submitted by the civil society. He also directed the Supreme Court’s registrar to set a date for the hearing of the appeal at its earliest.

The Sindh High Court declared null and void the sentences given to Shahrukh Jatoi and others, after which the sessions court subsequently granted bail to the suspects.

Members of the civil society had challenged the SHC decision granting bail to the convicts and dropping of terrorism charges in the Karachi registry of the apex court.

A sessions court on Friday had summoned details of the out-of-court settlement reached between the legal heirs of Shahzeb Khan and the suspects.

Key suspect Shahrukh Jatoi, and other suspect appeared before the court . The judge sought details of the affidavit which parents of the deceased had filed in the SHC pardoning his killers. The hearing of the case was adjourned till Jan 20.

University student Shahzeb Khan, aged 20 and the son of a DSP, was gunned down on the night of December 24, 2012 in Karachi’s Defence Housing Society. On December 23, 2017 Shahrukh Jatoi and othera accused were released on bail.

The bail was approved after Aurangzeb Khan, the victim’s father, submitted an affidavit confirming that he and members of his family had pardoned the suspects without any pressure or duress. He added that an out-of-court settlement was reached with the suspects back in 2013.

The murder had sparked widespread outrage across the country and attracted much media attention, prompting then CJP 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 domestic servant Ghulam Murtaza Lashari were awarded life in prison by an anti-terrorism court.

Subsequently, the convicts challenged their sentences in the high court requesting to set the sentences aside.

Jatoi, the key suspect, challenged his sentence on the ground that he was a juvenile at the time of committing the crime, and could not be tried under the anti-terrorism law.

The appellants argued that the crime didn’t come within the ambit of the anti-terrorism law, thus, they should have been tried by an ordinary court instead of an anti-terrorism court.

A SHC appellate bench overturned their sentences and sent the case back to a sessions court to conduct the trial of the suspects afresh.

It noted that since the victim’s family had reached an out-of-court settlement and whether the crime comes in the jurisdiction of the terrorism law needed a rethink. The judges observed that the sentences awarded by the trial court were without fulfilling the legal requirements.

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