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IN Pakistan the norm is that the rich and well connected operate as though they are above the law. That is why the sentencing in the Shahzeb Khan murder case is significant. On Friday, an anti-terrorism court in Karachi handed down the death sentence to Shahrukh Jatoi, the main accused, along with Siraj Talpur; the convicts’ families have said they will appeal the sentence. The case made headlines and sparked outrage across the country when young Shahzeb Khan was murdered in December last year after getting into an argument with one of the convicts’ servants, who had reportedly been harassing the victim’s sister. While this newspaper does not support capital punishment, justice has run its course and was not perverted by power and influence. For the impartial dispensation of justice in Pakistan all those who break the law — regardless of their connections or financial might — must be held responsible.

The conviction should also renew the debate on young people — and their handlers — carrying guns in urban Pakistan. Due to the weaponisation of society and the proliferation of armed private guards, schoolyard brawls and rivalries — that in the past usually resulted in cuts and bruises — can today end up with the loss of life. In a case similar to that of Shahzeb, another young man, Hamza Ahmed, lost his life in April when he was reportedly gunned down by an equally young rival’s guard in Karachi over a petty dispute. There needs to be introspection, especially within the upper and upper-middle classes in Pakistan, specifically regarding the value of human life. Pulling out a gun is no way to resolve an argument. This is something parents need to realise and communicate to their children and associated persons — drivers, guards, domestic staff etc.

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Comments (8) Closed

asif Jun 08, 2013 07:56pm

to hell with the upper and middle class, lets talk about the poor. the victim was a DSP's son so its not like he was an 'ordinary' citizen. the day a rich person is sentenced to death in pakistan for a killing a laborer is when we will be able to say that something has changed.

kam Jun 08, 2013 09:14am
Carrying of Guns should be made a capital offence attracting the death penalty or life in prison.
ismail Jun 08, 2013 10:02am
lets hope justice prevail
mazhar Memon Jun 09, 2013 03:31pm
Guest may be right and AAZ may pardon him if he will be president at the time of final judgement , However there is no chance he will be. Point i am making is, if cases are being decided because SCP/CJP is intervening and as it is said that will need brave judge to have any different opinion, is this justice? I think this is other side of coin, and that coin has tail on both sides, if some body gets acquitted because he/she is rich/political connected or get convicted because of influence of CJP that is not fare, it will become controversial. That will provide opportunity to some body to say there is different approach when it is Larkana as compared to Lahore. Cases should be decided without any influence and that includes courts themselves and this should be across the board.
Syed Ahmed Jun 08, 2013 01:41pm
This looks like a Topi-Drama. Hard to imagine the river Sindh flowing in the reverse direction. It is my gut feeling that the conviction by the anti-terrorism court in Karachi will be thrown out by the SHC. Just wait and see.
Oracle Jun 08, 2013 03:00pm
what happened to the case where a youth was gunned down in Karachi by the police who shot him in cold blood and let him bleed to death even as he begged to be taken to a hospital.long live Islamic republic of Pakistan. lets revert to what Jinnah called it " Pakistan"
Guest63 Jun 09, 2013 12:15pm
Your Gut feeling is not without reasons , There are still 2 steps in the judicial process where he could get relief ( High Court appeal and then SCP appeal even though not to forget that it was on the behest of the SCP/CJP under a suomoto notice that the trial was expedited conducted ! so the revoking of the ocnviction at the High court , will be tricky and it would be a very brave judge to confront the SCP/CJP !!! ) and then the last one is the Presidential Pardon is Open . If the Independent High Court and SC can up hold the conviction (within next 3 months ) , A Sindhi President will spring into action to rescue him . AAZ had been on records to pardon his cronies even before the due judicial process had been exhausted ! , So this Topi-Drama (in the form of presidential pardon or reducing of the death sentense to imprisonment can not be ruled out may end up before AAZ leaves the office !
mazhar Memon Jun 09, 2013 03:07am
This may be a significant case and let us hope that case was not decided because it was actively followed up by media with their own prejudices and superior judiciary got involved as well, if this case is eventually decided on any other consideration other then merit it would yet be another set back for law and justice. There were hundreds of murders before this case and scores of others after this case, however we have not seen similar followup from media, judiciary and civil society, there is potential that this is going to become controversial. There are already perceptions that Shazeb case was taken up the way it was because of political reasons and also because he is son of sindhi businessmen. Case of Hamza which is mentioned in this article is yet another one, however this case was almost forgotten, we do not hear about it at all. All the crimes committed must be investigated and justice done ignoring the fact who committed it, be it son of wadera or industrialist, judge and general or journalist or any body belongs to any political party. We hear about GIT reports and video taped confessions of criminals, who have committed dozen of murders and robberies but justice do not seem to be making any progress in these cases and frequently such criminal are acquitted, this kind of environment is sending only one message, it is ok to commit murder or multiple murders, but you should have political support at government as well at street level.. Wadera behavior is not limited to some rural folks now, we have wadera culture thriving in cities as well, it has gained ground in every ethnicity, religion, social strata, trade and business. Society need to fight this culture in what ever shape and form it exists. Mazhar