ISLAMABAD: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday resumed hearing in the plea filed by civil society members against a Sindh High Court order wherein all anti-terrorism charges against accused in Shahzeb Khan murder case were set aside.
Chief Justice Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar asked how members of the civil society can challenge the acquittal of Shahrukh Jatoi and others by the SHC if the parents and state had already reached a conclusion.
The bench, headed by the CJP, asked counsel Faisal Siddiqui to convince the point of locus standi. "If the parents and state have agreed on comprise in the matter, how can the civil society and non-governmental organisation approach SC?" CJP asked.
Siddiqui argued there was a collision of state and accused party in the murder case as he informed court that four prosecutors on the case had been replaced in this matter.
Explaining the locus standi, he said the eight out of ten petitioners were residents of the area where Shahzeb was killed.
Jusitce Nisar remarked whether the SC can exercise jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution while Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that the clause could be exploited if SC allows this appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution. "Likewise it may open door to approach SC in future," said Justice Khosa.
The bench will resume hearing tomorrow [Thursday].
In December, the high court had ruled that Shahzeb Khan’s murder did not fall within the Act’s ambit and therefore set aside the conviction of Jatoi and three others who were recently released after a compromise was reportedly reached with the deceased’s family.
Ten civil society members, including Jibran Nasir, Jamshed Raza Mehmood, Afiya Sherbano Zia, Naeem Sadiq and Faheem Zaman Khan, filed an appeal at the SC’s Karachi Registry challenging the decision.
The petitioners said that they have the legal right to appeal and challenge the judgment, arguing that this is an issue of public importance and involves acts of terrorism, especially considering the fact that the state has consented to the judgment and the legal heirs of the deceased person have compromised with the respondents.
They argued that the unfortunate and gruesome murder of Shahzeb resulted in creating fear, panic and insecurity amongst the people residing in the Defence and Clifton vicinities and the public in general in Karachi and Pakistan.