After a gruelling eight-month legal battle to secure a conviction against the murderers of 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan, the family of the deceased surprised the country on Monday when they submitted statements in court saying that they had pardoned all four murderers without claiming blood money.
Shahrukh Jatoi, Nawab Siraj Talpur, Nawab Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari had earlier been handed down the death sentence and life imprisonment for the murder of Shahzeb Khan, in a case that had gripped the nation’s attention for its significance as a test case for delivering justice amidst the travesties of class difference.
The unexpected pardon is the second consecutive high-profile case in which the family of the deceased has acquitted the murders after the family of Sarfraz Shah, who was gunned down by Rangers personnel, settled the murder case out-of-court in May this year.
“I say that I and the other family members have pardoned the appellant outside the honorable court without any pressure, coercion or interest but in the name of Allah,” read the compromise statement submitted by Shahzeb’s father, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Aurangzeb Khan.
“I say that I and the other legal heirs of the deceased Muhammad Shahzeb Khan have waived the right of Qisas and Diyat,” he said, adding that he had no objection to the high court acquitting the convicts in the larger interest of justice.
Similar statements, filed separately by the victim’s mother Ambreen Khan and sisters Parishey and Maha, were submitted to the appellate court on Monday by Mehmood Alam Rizvi, the appellants’ lawyer.
All four murderers had appealed to the Sindh High Court six days after a Karachi Anti-Terrorism Court had handed down the death penalty to prime suspects Shahrukh Jatoi and Nawab Siraj Talpur and life imprisonment for co-accused Nawab Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari for their involvement in the gruesome murder of Shahzeb Khan on the night of December 24-25, 2012 in the upscale DHA neighbourhood of Karachi.
According to the prosecution record, Lashari, a cook for the Talpur brothers, had teased the victim’s sister, Maha Khan. The altercation which ensued led to brutal murder of Shahzeb after an exchange of hot words between the victim and the accused.
Shahrukh Jatoi was further convicted and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years for possessing illegal weapons without a licence, while Lashari was sentenced to imprisonment for an extra one year for assaulting Shahzeb’s sister.
Under the country’s law, a victim’s family can strike an out-of-court settlement with the murderers by appearing in court to testify that they have pardoned the murderer in the name of Allah. Such pardons often include the accused paying the victim’s families money, in the form of Diyat or Qisas. However, in Shahzeb’s case the lawyer said that the victims’ family has not accepted any payment.
Despite the compromise, the court must now decide whether to accept the pardon or not, but judges generally follow the decision of the family.
The submission of pardons by all legal heirs of Shahzeb Khan will now be heard by an anti-terrorism appellate bench of the Sindh High Court along with the appeals filed by the four convicts against their conviction. No date has been fixed for the hearing so far.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2013.
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The poor family was coerced into forgiving....If they were to pardon him, then why move to Australia....
what media is reporting !! i think all we know that so many reports are false and many corresponds are to be called egent/paid of different [email protected] it means you people are driven by only media? very sad..
@mirza: Australia issues visas - not Pakistan, and not as part of any "settlement". This cannot be a "condition" - WAKE UP! More media tripe you are buying into with this case!
Why they launch campaign on social media motivate the ppl against this cold blooded murder and then pardoned at the end? Media reporting 350 million rupees and australian visa for the victim family.
Osman@ i think you are main victim when influential family was pressurizing to Shahzaib family..and were not allowing to live in Sindh? what u know more baby ? Do u know that in Islam : forgiveness is better than revenge? and allowed to take some amount (DAYAT) against the Murder ? be happy friends, that by this decision these people save the LIVES of so many Shahzebs.otherwise both families are Rich and if they will fight than will loose so many youngestors...Thanks Shahzeb,s Family..We solute you.Allah will mercy upon your family and soul of Shahzeb .
Shahrukh Jatoi was further convicted and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years for possessing illegal weapons without a licence......
Court can still keep Shahrukh in jail for 3 years.
Why is this murder showing victory sign??????Pathrtic man