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Pardon for Shahzeb killers triggers debate

September 10, 2013
Shahzeb Khan. —File photo
Shahzeb Khan. —File photo

KARACHI: The pardon of a business tycoon’s son and his three accomplices on Monday in the Shahzeb murder case by the family of the deceased has triggered a debate as the legal fraternity believed that under the law the convicts could not be exonerated in this manner, but religious scholars did not find the move in clash with any clause of Shariah.

The lawyers recognised Section 309 (waiver of qisas in qatl-i-amd) of the Pakistan Penal Code, but they believed that it could not favour Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Talpur, Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari because they were convicted under the Anti-terrorism Act.

“The accused were tried by an anti-terrorism court because they were charged under Section 7-A of the ATA,” said Muhammad Farooq, a Sindh High Court lawyer with expertise in criminal cases.He said the accused could have been pardoned by the aggrieved family if they were tried under the PPC, but they were convicted under the ATA for a non-compoundable offence.

Mr Farooq said the defence lawyer should have convinced the appellate court that his clients should not be tried under the ATA because it was a simple murder case. Had the appellant bench been satisfied, Section 7-A of the ATA could have been removed from the charge sheet and the accused tried by a regular court.

“Under the ATA, terrorism is not an offence against an individual or a family, but a crime against society and the state,” he said.

Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, Advocate, said the aggrieved family could only pardon the convicts if the case was tried under the PPC.

He said that in case of pardon by the deceased family, the punishment would become invalid only under the PPC, but it would stay unaffected if it was handed down under the ATA.

But Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman did not see the Shahzeb family’s pardon contrary to the teachings of Islam and Sharia. Islamic law allowed the aggrieved family to settle the dispute with the accused under three conditions.

“First, the aggrieved party can ask the state to execute the accused if he or she is found guilty. Second, they can compromise with the guilty party after receiving a certain amount of money, which is not fixed in Islam. Third, they can pardon the convicts in the name of Allah. I think they (Shahzeb’s family) went for the third option,” he said.

He, however, said that it was a responsibility of the state to ensure that there was no pressure on the aggrieved family and no unlawful means were involved.

DEAL?: Unconfirmed reports of a multi-million rupee deal between the aggrieved family and the convicts went viral on social and broadcast media.

One TV channel claimed that the Jatois had paid about Rs350 million as compensation to the family of Shahzeb. It also said that the aggrieved family had planned to settle abroad.

But Shahzeb’s mother denied these reports and said that a ‘malicious campaign’ had been launched against her family by certain elements.

“We have forgiven the killers of our son only in the name of Allah,” Ambreen Khan was quoted as saying by another TV channel. “We have not received even a penny and we all are here in Pakistan.

We can even produce our passports which have no visa stamps of any country.