Shahzeb and Hamza: What makes murder worthy of coverage?

Do you know Hamza? He was found dead in DHA Phase VI, allegedly murdered by his friend Shan Khusro, over jealousy.

Ferya Ilyas April 04, 2013
He was just around 20. He was his parents’ only son.

He was shot dead — allegedly by the son of an influential person — at point-blank range. His body was found in the DHA locality.

Shahzeb Khan? No. This is Hamza Elahi.

A resident of Lahore, Hamza was found dead in DHA Phase VI on June 2, 2012. He was allegedly murdered by his friend Shan Khusro, over jealousy (as claimed by the administrators of his memorial page). Shan — son of former Lahore commissioner and Additional Federal Secretary Khusro Pervaiz — admitted to shooting, but by accident. Shan said he was trying to remove a bullet from the chamber of a gun he was carrying, when it went off accidentally, hitting Hamza in the head. In panic, he threw the body out of the car and drove away, he said.

This murder happened around six months before Shahzeb’s killing. However, not many people know about it.

Why? Because the media treated both cases differently.

Shahzeb made it to the front page right from the beginning, but Hamza was buried between many trivial stories on the inside pages. For The Express Tribune alone, the website has a separate URL for Shahzeb where all the stories related to the case can be found. But Hamza only managed to garner 12 stories in the paper and the website altogether.

The Karachi killing is usually slugged as “Shahzeb Khan murder case” but the Lahore one is tagged just as “Murder case.”

One wonders why so?

My guess is the social media outburst that followed Shahzeb’s murder. Media picked up on the killing because of the uproar created by Shahzeb’s loved ones online. In a matter of a few days, almost everyone knew the details of the murder, thus swelling the pressure group. However, Hamza was still just known to his family and friends.

The media fed its audience, who wanted to know about the developments in Shahzeb’s case, while there was not much calling for what is going on in Hamza’s murder trial.

The logic is simple: demand versus supply. But does media coverage really matter?

Yes. Sadly, we live in a society where murders have become a part of our daily lives. There are just too many killings taking place for our system to hand out justice swiftly. We have the Sialkot brothers, the Lyari twins and hundreds of others. But what’s more ironic is the fact that our system, at times, selects who deserves justice on the basis of the victim’s background, media coverage and the public response to the murder.

Why is a murder not just a murder? Why do we classify a killing on the basis of ‘who’ is murdered rather than just the death of a human being?

Read more by Ferya here or follow her on Twitter @ferya_ilyas
WRITTEN BY:
Ferya Ilyas
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (25)

merrill | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend Please let me know if you're looking for a writer for your blog. You have some really good articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Cheers!
Kiran | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend What an absolutely inappropriate post! The reason that Shahzeb's murder case became so popular and known to everyone was solely because of his family and friends' courage, dedication an determination to get justice for their beloved son/brother/friend. My heart goes out to Hamza Elahi, he was an absolute gem and there is no doubt whatsoever that he deserves justice as much as Shahzeb does but the fact is that his murderer was caught and sentenced as well but Shahzeb's murderer is still confident that he will get out. Who says that Hamza Elahi wasn't rich? He was rich, more than Shahzeb so this is no argument. Shahzeb's case is a test case because his murderer belongs to an extremely influential family, and we can see what is being done to this case. This case deserves to be highlighted because the murderers are known and are very influential.
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