The murder of 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan has ignited a movement that left the social media on Sunday evening and entered the real world.
Hundreds of Shahzeb’s friends, supporters and sympathisers gathered outside Karachi Press Club, carrying banners from which his face smiled down upon everyone.
The ‘Justice for Shahzeb Movement’ had gained significant presence online, and Sunday’s turnout showed that his supporters will not rest until justice is served. The protesters demanded the chief justice of Pakistan take suo motu action of the killing and arrest the culprits.
Shahzeb was killed allegedly by Shahrukh Jatoi near Mubarak Masjid in DHA on Tuesday night. The killing resulted from a small argument he had with Nawab Siraj Talpur, when the latter’s servant verbally harassed his sister. Talpur and his friend, Jatoi, allegedly followed Shahzeb and shot him.
The killing mobilised hundreds of people against the unquestioned authority that people with political connections enjoy in the country. At Sunday’s protest, shouts of “We want justice, justice for Shahzeb Khan”, “Shahrukh Jatoi ko phansi doh,” [Shahrukh Jatoi should be hanged] reverberated through the streets of Saddar.
A grim-faced cousin of Shahzeb, Daniyal said that the purpose of this movement was for every youngster killed in an unjust manner. With black bands tied around their arms, Shahzeb’s friends said that he was popular for his good nature. Next to him, another friend Asad, carried Shahzeb’s picture that said ‘I did not die. I just departed to stop the killings of other Shahzebs’. Asad said that despite the fact that the victim’s father was a police officer, he was against guns and never used them.
Asad Butt, a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan representative, said that all the NGOs should unite against the rich who use their power to get away with crimes. Several politicians, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Raza Haroon, Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz’s Nehal Hashmi and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf’s Dr Arif Alvi also came, but the protesters insisted on keeping the demonstration free from any political association.
After a peaceful march from the press club to Zainab Market, the protesters then relocated to Sea View from where they walked to Shahzeb’s house in Country Club Apartments. Shahzeb’s mother sat in front of the building’s main gate, where the argument had taken place. With her head hung low, she recited prayers for her son’s soul. Afreen Shiraz, who turned up with her husband after seeing Shahzeb’s memorial page, said that every parent should become a part of the movement. “I have two teenaged daughters and I get worried about them as they have kids in their schools with armed guards. The wrong usage of guns needs to be stopped.”
DSP Aurangzeb, Shahzeb’s father, said that he would not give up. “Those influential people can use their power and money to stop the police from arresting the criminals but we will not give up. I will knock on every door to get justice for my son.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2012.