Shahzeb Khan didn’t even get time to change the clothes he wore to his sister’s valima. He was in his dark grey dress shirt and trousers when four 9mm bullets pierced through his car – a gleaming blue Swift which was an early birthday gift from his parents, and entered his body, eventually killing this popular 20 year old.
The car which had somersaulted after the shooting near Mubarak Masjid in Karachi’s upmarket Defence area on Tuesday morning, now stands silent opposite the Darakhshan Police Station, a sad reminder of what the spoilt young sons of feudal landlords can do if they or their friends are challenged.
Ironically, Shahzeb Khan, the only son of his parents, was shot dead because of a small argument. He and his sister had just returned to their home in the Country Club Apartments from the wedding when a servant living in the building teased his sister. Shahzeb raised his voice against the harassment. But this did not sink in well with the harasser’s master, one Nawab Siraj Talpur. A fight broke out soon after, but Shahzeb’s father, DSP Aurangzeb, jumped in and quickly resolved the dispute, and the two men left on a good note.
Everything seemed normal. Soon after, Shahzeb decided to have tea with his friends. But the feud wasn’t over in Talpur’s mind till then. As an oblivious Shahzeb drove in his car near Mubarak Masjid, Talpur and his friend Shahrukh Jatoi followed him, along with Jatoi’s armed guards. Police say that in an act of cold-bloodedness, they then allegedly fired four bullets into Shahzeb’s car, leaving him severely injured, and eventually dead.
Soon enough after the incident, the two criminals and their families conveniently escaped to Sukkur. Despite the fact that Shahzeb’s father himself is a police officer, there is little the police have done so far to catch the murderers.
The devastated father of the young victim, Aurangzeb, clad in mourning black clothes, said taking lives in the city had become so easy for people who have strong political backgrounds and power. “I had settled the dispute. Then why was my son killed like this. This is the brutal reign of the feudals. They don’t spare anyone.”
FIR 519 under murder case 302 has been registered at the Darakhshan Police Station against the two accused and their guards. Initially, the family had a hard time registering the case owing to political pressure coming from other end. However, Investigation officer Murtaza told The Express Tribune that a joint team under SI Chaudhry Nafees had been formed to look into the case. Some say this is a mere formality and nothing will come of this.
“We have requested the FIA to put the names of the accused on the ECL.” The officer said that such open use of arms across the city had become common. “For students and young adults, carrying guns has become a trend. Fights break out and the first thing children do is take out guns on one another. Parliamentarians and influentials travel in the city with their guards pointing guns at others and no one can do anything. Their children do the same.”
The tragic death of this media sciences student at Greenwich University sent shockwaves. Loved ones who remember Shahzeb for his cute smile, created a page “In Memory of Shahzeb Khan” to seek justice for the act. In just thirteen hours since the page was created, 2,500 people had joined, with dozens leaving messages of ‘I’ll miss your smile, RIP and you were a real soldier, you stood up for the wronged.”
Close university friend Saad Jan, who had just arrived from visiting his friend’s grave said that Shahzeb was the person who would always stand up for others. Another friend, Fahad Wakeel said that he was always remembered for his good nature.
Shahzeb’s uncle, Jahanzaib said: “For him everything ended with a smile. Even when he was leaving from the valima, and I saw him for the last time, he smiled and joked with my daughters and went away, leaving us forever.”
The police suspect that the boys aged 20 or 23, are on their way to Sukkur. So far two people, alleged to be Jatoi’s guards, have been arrested. But even the police are now taking sides. SSP Investigation Faizullah Karejo said that the boys knew each other and were in a fight from before. “The parents had to intervene and everything was settled,” he said. “However, the boys started to fight again and Jatoi shot Shahzeb four times as he sat in his car to go to a friend’s house.” He added that Jatoi was in the city for winter break and is studying in Malaysia.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2012.