KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the counsels on Monday to continue arguments on January 28 on the appeals filed against the conviction of Shahrukh Jatoi in the Shahzeb Khan murder case. Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Nazar Akbar heard the appeals in which the additional prosecutor-general maintained that, according to the medical report, convict Shahrukh Jatoi was over 18 years of age at the time of the offence. The counsel for convict had presented two types of documents; the college and NADRA records, but both were contradictory. Therefore, the medical board report was the prime document in this case to determine Jatoi's age. He pleaded that the convicts' appeals should be dismissed.
Advocate Mehmood Alam Rizvi maintained that his client had pardoned the convict, hence there will be no objections if the appal was accepted. The court inquired whether the family of the victim took compensation, to which Rizvi replied that on record they had forgiven in God's name but he had no clue if any amount was taken off the record.
Justice Akbar questioned where was the father of his client, to which Advocate Rizvi replied that he had died a few months ago. On this, the court asked Advocate Rizvi how he could hold the brief of a client who had died. Advocate Rizvi said that his widow could not be contacted, however, a power of attorney would be submitted on her behalf very soon. The court remarked that it was due to the negligence of the investigation officers that the accused mange to find safe passage while people blamed the court. Justice Akbar remarked that the investigation and prosecution should be handed over to the army. "The army should handle the prosecution system in such conditions."
In conversation with the petitioner's counsel Advocate Latif Khosa, Justice Akbar asked him to inform the parliament about the flaws in prosecution and incompetency of the investigation officers. Advocate Khosa maintained that the incident had wrongly been presented as terrorism. He also asked the names of the six witnesses who gave statements. "Three witnesses did not give any statements before the court. The compromise of the parties was rejected due to terrorism clauses," he said.
The court, directing to continue the arguments, adjourned the hearing till January 28. Jatoi, including two convicts, have been awarded death sentences while life imprisonment has been awarded to two other suspects.
Bone marrow transplant
The SHC issued a show-cause notice on Monday to the health additional secretary in the contempt of court plea against the non-issuance of funds for a bone marrow transplant of 16-year-old Obaid Raza.
A two-member bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, heard the plea in which the court expressed discontentment on the absence of the health additional secretary and directed him to submit a reply by January 28.
The court inquired that why, despite assurances in court, the funds were not released. The provincial government had assured the release of funds for Raza's treatment. After the assurance from Sindh government, the court had wrapped up the case and had directed the defendants to release funds but despite the orders, the government hasn't yet released the funds.
The petition filed by Amjad Ali, brother of Raza, said, "My 16-year-old brother is suffering from a dangerous illness. The Sindh government on November 22 had granted approval of Rs4.4 million for the treatment. The amount has not been released despite the approval from the health additional chief secretary." Ali requested the court to order the immediate release of funds for treatment.
Sindh govt reply sought
The same bench, while hearing a case regarding the lack of paramedical staff and doctors in government hospitals, has directed the Sindh government to submit a report about all the vacant positions till February 4.
The plaintiff's lawyer said that the Sindh government has not submitted its reply regarding hospitals in Karachi, Thar district, Sukkur and Badin and regarding lack of doctors in Thatta, Larkana, and 11 other districts. The court, directing the Sindh government to submit replies, adjourned the hearing.
The plaintiff Advocate Shahab Astoo said in the petition that there is a lack of doctors that include cardiologists, gynaecologists, child specialists and others. In Sindh, countless doctors and paramedical staff positions are lying vacant. The positions of gynaecologist, pathologist, surgeon, child specialist including other important positions are also vacant since three years. Currently in government hospitals across the province, 2,100 important positions are lying vacant.
May 12 incident
Iqbal Kazmi has filed a petition in the SHC against setting aside the May 12 incident case in which the Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar was charged. The petition filed said that the Karachi mayor was booked in a case at City Court police station. Kazmi maintained that Akhtar had wrapped up the case through his power and influence. Hence, the case should be reopened and directives be issued to initiate proceedings against Akhtar.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2019.
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