KARACHI, Sept 9: The parents and two sisters of Shahzeb Khan, who was murdered in cold blood by a business tycoon’s son and his three accomplices, have approached the Sindh High Court to seek acquittal of the convicts after pardoning them “in the name of Allah”, it emerged on Monday.

Shahrukh Jatoi, son of Sikandar Jatoi, and his friend Nawab Siraj Ali Talpur were on June 7 sentenced to death and two other co-accused got life imprisonment for shooting 20-year-old Shahzeb, son of DSP Aurangzeb Khan, to death on Dec 25, 2012 near his house in the Defence Housing Authority.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had also taken suo motu notice on the incident that had sparked widespread outrage across the country through newspapers, TV channels and social media.

After the heinous murder, hundreds of people had gathered outside the Karachi Press Club and requested the chief justice to take notice of the police failure to arrest the killers.

The incident also triggered a widespread debate over whether the country’s elite could be held accountable for crimes they committed as the prime accused belonged to powerful feudal families of Sindh.

Later in a speedy trial, Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the Anti-Terrorism Court-3 sentenced Shahrukh Jatoi and a co-accused, Nawab Siraj Talpur, to capital punishment and Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, the Talpurs’ servant, to suffer life imprisonment in the case.

Advocate Mehmood Alam Rizvi filed an application on behalf of the family members of the victim in the SHC under Section 345 (2) of the criminal procedure code asking to the court to allow the convicts and the legal heirs of the victim to settle the matter out of court as they pardoned them in the name of Allah, waiving the right to Qisas and Diyat (compensation).

The victim’s family members — his father Aurangzeb Khan, mother Ambreen and sisters Pareshay and Maha — filed their affidavits to the effect.

In his affidavit, DSP Aurangzeb said that he was a resident of flat no E-117, Country Club Apartment, Phase VI, Defence Housing Authority, and he and other family members had pardoned the convicts without any pressure, coercion or interest but in the name of Allah.

The victim family members stated in their respective affidavits that they had no objection if the court acquitted the convicts.

Court sources said that the counsel had filed the pardon application in early July and the relevant branch of the SHC had raised certain objections to it.

The sources told Dawn that the applicants or their counsel had so far not approached the SHC removing the objections to their application.

It is worth noting here that an identical application filed over two months ago by the legal heirs of Sarfraz Shah, a young man killed by Rangers, is still pending disposal.

According to the prosecution, Shahzeb had an altercation with the accused persons since they tried to tease his sister and later the issue was settled by some elders, but they killed the victim by opening fire on his vehicle.

Initially, the case (FIR 591/12) was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint of the deceased’s father.

However, during the investigation, Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modestly) of the PPC and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 were incorporated in the FIR.

The unfortunate episode started with the misbehaviour of accused Lashari with the victim’s sister.

She stated in the trial court that Lashari hurled indecent remarks at her when she was to enter her 11th-floor apartment upon her return from a wedding.

The teenage girl deposed that she immediately phoned her mother complaining about the misbehaviour of the Talpurs’ servant.

The girl’s mother stated in her deposition in court that she immediately sent her son home as his sister was in trouble.

The victim returned and had an altercation with the Talpurs’ servant and this later led to a quarrel between him and the accused persons. The victim’s mother tried to pacify the situation and directed her son to tender an apology to the accused persons.

The victim did what his mother asked him to do, but the accused person did not accept the apology saying that they would be satisfied only if accused Lashari, who was employed as a cook by the Talpurs only two days before the incident, was allowed to slap the victim.

The victim’s mother directed her son to leave the place and immediately after his departure accused Jatoi took out his pistol and declared that he would exterminate Shahzeb. Then the four accused also departed and the victims’ parents went to the apartment of the two accused Talpurs’ father, Nawab Imdad Ali Taplur, to ease out the situation.

However, the accused persons intercepted the victim at Khayaban-i-Bahria and shot him dead.

Two friends of the victim, Muhammad Shah and Muhammad Ahmed Zuberi, who had also chased the accused persons, witnessed the incident and deposed in court accordingly.

The two friends stated in court that Shahzeb rolled over and rested on a side after he was fired upon and later accused Nawab Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari went to the victim’s car and instigated accused Jatoi to kill the victim as he was still alive. Jatoi pumped more bullets then.

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