Shahzeb Khan murder case: ‘Justice hurried is justice buried’

Shahrukh Jatoi writes to human rights groups to seek their support against his conviction.

Rizwan Shehzad June 16, 2013
Shahrukh Jatoi outside the court premises. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: The day Shahrukh Jatoi filed an appeal against the Anti-Terrorist Court verdict in the Sindh High Court, he also reportedly wrote letters to the human rights advocacy groups to seek their support against his conviction.

Shahrukh, who was sentenced to death after being found guilty in the Shahzeb Khan murder case on June 7, addressed the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Chairperson Zohra Yusuf in the letter,  with the subject reading “Appeal of Justice”. The letter was also forwarded to eminent lawyer Asma Jahangir, Supreme Court Bar Association President Mian Israrul Haq, Sindh High Court Bar Association President Mustafa Lakhani and Zia Ahmed Awan of Madadgar.

“I faced the trial with an open heart and mind and put my faith in the judicial system of Pakistan,” Shahrukh said in the letter. “I am, however, shocked at the judgment as I did not kill Shahzeb Khan.”

Shahrukh said that he hasn’t written the letter to gain sympathy but to highlight the “heinous” role played by the media throughout the trial and “unnecessary intervention of the judiciary in the investigation of the case which led to miscarriage of justice which, in turn, could lead to the end of my life.” Shahrukh also alleged that the verdict was out before the trial even began, adding that his pictures holding a gun were aired on television and plastered across newspapers as if he was a terrorist.

The convict further stated that he was denied a fair trial and questioned that even if it is assumed that he committed the crime, would it be right to condemn him to death for a momentary lapse of judgment? He urged the HRCP to not let another youth die, adding that two wrongs don’t make a right. “The system’s job is to reform an individual, not kill him.”

Yusuf, meanwhile, acknowledged that a regional office of the commission forwarded her the letter through an email in which Shahrukh has pleaded his innocence and complained against the media. “Such cases do not fall under our domain and can only be solved through a process in the court,” she said, adding that HRCP does not take up cases that only benefits individuals rather than public at large.

Lakhani and Awan, however, denied receiving any letter. Awan said that the convict can write to anyone in his personal capacity but it wouldn’t be of any help to him as the matter is sub judice. “It was a test case and timely conviction only upholds the rule of law.”

Despite several attempts, Shahrukh’s counsel Shoukat Hussain Zubedi could not be reached for his comments. Jamshed Ahmed Khokhar, one of the lawyers in the panel, however, said that he was unaware of any correspondence that Shahrukh might have had with HRCP from the jail. “Neither Shahrukh nor his family have informed us about any such letter.”

The Superintendent of the Karachi Central Jail, Kazi Nazir Ahmed, expressed his ignorance about the letter. “The letter hasn’t been routed through me nor was it brought to my knowledge,” said Ahmed, adding that the letter might have been forwarded by a relative of Shahrukh.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2013.


Imran | 9 years ago | Reply

... and what about those people who know for a fact that Shahrukh did NOT commit this crime - INCLUDING the Khan family? They know if they come out with the truth now that mobs of angry people will be after THEM for lying to the "common people"...... Just as THEY incited the "common people" to go after this kid in the first place!

This is NO "JUSTICE" for the "common man" - Shahzeb was FAR from being a "common man"! Look at how MQM tried to shut down Sikandar Jatoi's business and put thousands of workers out of their jobs when this case went public.... SO MUCH MORE going on in the back ground of this case... personal hatreds, politics.... and shame on the Khan's for being puppets to all this! May they rot in hellfire eternally!

Abdul Rahman Khan | 9 years ago | Reply All eyes of the justice-wanting and justice-loving people of Pakistan and elsewhere are focused on this case. The murder of Shahzeb by convict Shahrukh did take place and he was rightly and justly convicted for the murder. The higher courts shouldn't drag their feet on the proceedings there. There should be neither 'Dayet and Qasas' nor commutation of sentence by the President (using his prerogative right) in this case. Convict Shahrukh has got capital punishment which he deserved and the people want execution of the sentence in the larger interest of law and justice.
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