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Court seeks details of settlement in Shahzeb Khan murder case

KARACHI: A sessions court on Friday once again summoned details of the out-of-court settlement reached between the legal heirs of Shahzeb Khan and his alleged murderers.

Key suspect Shahrukh Jatoi, and other suspect appeared before the court today as it took up the murder case.

The judge sought details of the affidavit which parents of the deceased had filed in the Sindh High Court, pardoning his killers.

The hearing of the case was adjourned till Jan 20 when the suspects would be provided copies of the case.

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.

On December 23, Shahrukh Jatoi and other accused were released after the court granted them bail against a surety of Rs500,000 each.

The court had approved bail for them 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 in the name of Allah. 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 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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