Despite the fact that the number of witnesses in Shahzeb Khan murder trial is going down by the day, the family is positive that justice will be served.
Two witnesses have denied in court that they saw the prime suspect, Shahrukh Jatoi, at the Country Club Apartments in DHA on December 25, 2012, when Shahzeb Khan, 20, was gunned down. Rumours are also abuzz that the victim’s family struck a deal with the influential defense.
Talking to Express News’ To The Point, Shahzeb’s mother Ambreen rejected these rumours. This is no ordinary case, she said, adding that she has resigned herself to God’s court.
“We held a press conference on March 18 specifically to quash such rumours,” she reminded, complaining that the event was not covered properly. “We filed a petition against the change of the prosecutor general and informed everyone about the pressure on our witnesses.”
The case is being dragged deliberately to wear out the witnesses, she insisted. Even the prosecutor has written a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan complaining that her husband, DSP Aurangzeb, was not cooperating, she pointed out. “The reality is, however, that for the last month and a half, my husband has been going to the courts along with six witnesses every day.” Only one or two witnesses are allowed to speak while the others are asked to return another day.
“Some of these kids have gone back to resume their semesters at school,” she said, explaining how hard it is to gather witnesses. “They are educated people and they have colleges and offices to attend to. They cannot wait forever.”
The family is also upset with the callous attitude of the investigation officer. “He’s least bothered and acts as if it is the duty of the prosecution alone.” At an earlier episode of the same show, the family had denied rumours of cutting a deal with the suspects’ families.
Why did the witnesses retract their statement even though they were Shahzeb’s friends? “Everyone knows why witnesses change their versions,” said the mother. “Money is the name of the game.” Shahzeb’s family claimed they trust no one now and are afraid that other witnesses may withdraw as well. Nevertheless, Ambreen was optimistic that justice will be served. “If not in this world, the killers would definitely be served justice in the Hereafter.” She was grateful to the media and to the Chief Justice who was taking personal interest.
Is the family tempted to back down given the pressures, or will they fight till the end? “Peoples’ prayers are with us and we will not disappoint anyone,” she concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2013.