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Court starts retrial of high-profile Shahzeb Khan murder case

KARACHI: In the wake of the Sindh High Court’s verdict, a sessions court on Tuesday commenced retrial of the high-profile Shahzeb Khan murder case.

Police produced Shahrukh Jatoi, and other suspects before the District and Session Judge (South) as it began trial in the case afresh in compliance with the high court verdict that overturned sentences awarded to the accused persons by an anti-terrorism court and ordered retrial.

During the hearing, the judge was informed that the legal heirs of the deceased had pardoned the key accused, Shahrukh Jatoi.

The court sought from the high court a verified copy of the affidavit filed by the parents of Shahzeb Khan, pardoning the killer on next hearing on January 5.

Meanwhile, Jatoi and other suspects filed petitions seeking their release on bail.

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 in prison by an anti-terrorism court.

Subsequently, the convicts challenged their sentences in the high court, requesting it 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, therefore, he 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.

The bench directed the sessions court to determine whether the murder comes within the ambit of the anti-terrorism law.

It noted that since the family of the deceased had reached an out-of-court settlement with the convicts and pardoned them, the point 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 without fulfilling the legal requirements.

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