Shahzeb Khan's parents did what they had to

His parents were threatened by feudals and their sidekicks; they were only trying to protect their remaining children.

Maheen Usmani September 10, 2013
‘’Shahzeb's family should be shunned by everyone who supported them.’’

“The parents had been extremely pressurised to forgive the tyrants, but Allah (SWT) will inflict them with His divine retribution InshaAllah.’’

To all those bashing Shahzeb Khan’s parents, what would you do if you were in their position: threatened by feudals and their sidekicks, having lost one son and trying to protect the remaining children? In a land where might is right, would you have the guts to endanger more precious lives in order to see justice done to a grinning Jatoi or Talpur?

As Shahzeb’s mother said:
“We cannot spend our entire lives in fear, we took the decision considering the circumstances.”

Media is abuzz with stories of crores and Australian visas being grabbed in exchange for pardoning of the murderers. Rather distasteful to speak of money and visas when firstly there is no proof and secondly the parents have reiterated that they pardoned the murderers “in the name of Allah (SWT)”.

If the life of a citizen is an asset of the state, should not such crimes be treated as crimes against the state? No individual should have the authority to impose his or her will, because it’s a crime the state should pursue till the culprits are brought to justice. In any case, the step of forgiving should only be used if the murder was an accident and not deliberate.

It is a matter of record that after mowing down Shahzeb Khan, Shahrukh Jatoi went back to pump more bullets into the injured young man to ensure he died.

Religious scholar extraordinaire hounded into exile, Javed Ahmad Ghamadi, minces no words when he points out that Islamic law has been erroneously applied in cases like Raymond Davis. He lays the blame on the courts, because they should have decided whether these were premeditated murders, hence worthy of being pardoned, and only then should the families have been brought into the equation. In his view, both murders were crimes against the state as well as against the heirs of the victims.

Shahzeb’s friends and supporters are upset that their efforts were in vain but it is a positive sign that this tragedy created such a stir in our sedentary fat cat circles. One must speak out against injustice, but it should be kept in mind that change is a slow process especially in a country where the mantra of “do you know who I am?” is an accepted way of dealing with the hapless.

Comments like “now our children in Clifton and Defence will be even more at risk from demented feudals” only serve to illustrate why many people were happy enough to support #JusticeforShahzeb and see feudals incarcerated, only in order to provide greater security to their own families. As long as they did not have to take up cudgels against the high and mighty, they were perfectly happy to cheer from the back benches. Now that the anticipated change has fizzled out like a punctured balloon, they are obviously aggrieved, having been left up the creek without a paddle.

Post conviction Shahrukh Jatoi, having acquired quite an impressive paunch in jail, smiled and flashed a V-For-Victory sign. As a wealthy, influential man’s progeny, he knew well that in Pakistan the rich can get away with murder and the poor cannot. Has a poor man ever been pardoned by the rich for his crime?

The more things change, the more they remain the same

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Maheen Usmani A freelance writer who has covered subjects ranging from socio-political issues to women's rights to counter terrorism, sports, travel, culture and music. Maheen tweets @MaheenUsmani (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


kaalchakra | 10 years ago | Reply We are taking an upside-down view of things. Islam allows such forgiveness for perfect reasons which need to be understood: First, forgiveness of other Muslims is a great thing and is dear to Allah. Bonds of brotherhood require that we do not hold grudges against one's brothers and sisters. Second, in practical terms, one has to move on, do well and succeed in life, for the sake of human progress, peace, and all-round development - the key requirement of Islam. Being stuck in the past is the sign of an unbelieving mind and a small heart. Thirdly, in any such situation the best decision can be made only by the family involved. We are not privy to all the factors that go into adopting a particular route in any situation. We are not to sit in judgement over the choices of other Muslims so long they sincerely follow the clear and unambiguous guidelines provided by Islam.
dawn | 10 years ago | Reply It is just stupid system . He should have never come out just because they forgive him . he was the criminal of society and society should have punished him.
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