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A pie for an eye


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  Shahrukh Jatoi (R) gestures while his accomplice Siraj Talpur looks on from a court lockup. -Photo by AFP
Shahrukh Jatoi (R) gestures while his accomplice Siraj Talpur looks on from a court lockup. -Photo by AFP

The story began in the heart of last year’s wedding season, in the lingering end of December, when the streets near the sea are filled with revelers, coiffed and bejeweled and hopping from one nuptial to the next. The gunshots echoed through the darkness, and like the darkness they were familiar to everyone; Karachi rises and sleeps and celebrates to the sounds of guns. December 25th marks one birthday everywhere else in the world, and another in Pakistan. The birth anniversary of our founder, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah does not rely on the moon, and henna ceremonies and nuptials and the feasts, and festivities are hence reliably pinned to it.

The wedding of Shahzeb Khan’s sister was no different. On the evening of December 25th 2012, he was driving home from the Valima ceremony. Seated beside him was another unmarried sister. Home was an apartment building nearby where the siblings lived with their parents. The altercation began as they made their way up to the apartments, when the loitering entourage of another tenant began to tease Shahzeb’s sister. At first it looked like it would be a routine tiff, a boy standing up for his sister against the heckling of strange, leering neighbors. Twenty-year-old Shahzeb managed to get his sister upstairs and to hold his own.

It would not end that way. As the late night waned into the early morning, Shahzeb ventured out again for another leftover errand. He never returned. His bullet riddled body was found by his family near the car he had been driving. He was still wearing the suit he had worn to the reception. The killers were the neighbors, the boys he had fought with earlier that evening. Two angry sons of two old and powerful families, Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur never tried to hide what they were doing. Not only did they shoot Shahzeb in the open, witnesses alleged, one of them returned and riddled the corpse with bullets a second time, to ensure that the boy was really dead. Then, they disappeared.

The Shahzeb Khan case has since become the emblem of a war between the cultures of entitlement and the cultures of achievement, the anguished tussle of which plays out in the middle class suburbs of Karachi. Every bit and piece of the case — the botched investigation, the initial reticence of the police to even register a case, the absconding murderers — have been skirmishes fought avidly by both sides. If the entitled have money, the achievers, sons and daughters of doctors and lawyers and accountants, have a voice. As the entitled hid their boys, the achievers began a public campaign. They wrote on blogs, the raged on twitter, they came out on the streets in peaceful marches. The killing of Shahzeb Khan must not go unpunished, the young of urban upstarts yelled.

The Supreme Court was listening, and perhaps the emblematic nature of the case, its distillation of the anger of those that study and try and fill out forms and go on job interviews against those that claim an inheritance, a vast architecture of familial protection and wealthy influence, was clear and visible to it. As almost never happens, the already fled feudal was summoned back from abroad and the two accused, Siraj Talpur and Shahrukh Jatoi, were both imprisoned pending trial for murder. The warriors of achievement rejoiced. Their absence of hereditary heft, of names that inspired awe and deference, of honchos that harassed seemed finally forgiven.

There was even more cause for relief on June 7, 2013. On that day, the accused boys, Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur, were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. It seemed a resounding victory for the purveyors of achievement, those that still rely on Pakistan’s institutions to mete justice, to stand in for their absence of tribes and clans. A new Government had just been elected and many old names had been pushed from power by the verdict of polls. It seemed a new Pakistan, one that represented them, accepted them, acknowledged them, was in place. The killers of an ordinary boy, the son of an ordinary man, had been caught, convicted, and sentenced. There was justice in Pakistan after all. The culture of achievement had defeated the culture of entitlement.

It was a premature announcement of victory. After the verdict — when the fervor of those that had fought had faded and the girls who had seen themselves in Shahzeb’s sister and the boys who had seen themselves in Shahzeb’s bullet ridden corpse had gone back to their studies, their searches for jobs and for visas, to their quest for becoming something more than their fathers or mothers had been — there was more news. On September 9, 2013, it was announced that the parents of Shahzeb Khan, the mother and father of his still living sisters and surviving brother, had pardoned the killers. The fattened boys, who had allegedly been permitted to have all their meals delivered from home while they were imprisoned, held up victory signs as they walked out from prison. They were free and forgiven.

Since then, the thwarted champions of achievement, those who had been able to extract some shred of comfort from the idea that there would be some justice if they were shot, some investigation if they were murdered, have wept. Flailing in their anger, they have railed even against the family who forgave; there was talk of deals and deception. The usual cache of conspiracies that accompanies a lack of information and mirrors the dissatisfaction with the truth has accompanied their tears. In the midst of the miserable mix is the law that enabled the pardon, The Qisas and Diyat Ordinance permits the family of an accused to pardon a killer, for money or for nothing at all. It was the mechanism through which the other laws, of evidence and proof and criminal convictions were set aside.

The story of the case, the ultimate victory of the landed and lauded, is not one about the divisions of religion or ethnicity or sect that are usually listed as the dotted lines along which Pakistan can be divided. Along with other countries in South Asia, Pakistan and particularly Karachi is one of the fastest urbanising areas in the world. The consequences of these demographic realities is a division between those who live in an urbanised modern reality, where the individual makes themselves and the ties of family have frayed in the quest for the better job and the better life. Against this form of life, however, are still the residues of the ways of old, those that see the cultures of urbanism and achievement as a challenge to what always has been and what must always be. Theirs is the still-robust architecture of revenge and retaliation, of self-sufficient systems that require no state and no Government.

Suspended between the old and new, the individual and the collective, urban Pakistan faces some choices between the past and the present. In this case, the conviction of murderers by a court means nothing if the family of the perished cannot be afforded the protection required to fight off the murderer’s furious family, foaming at the mouth for revenge. The battle between the cultures of achievement and entitlement hence continues. The parallel laws that convict in one forum and provide room for pardons in another represent again the confusion between the new Pakistani, the individual and urban Pakistani who aches for the modern state to provide what the clan or tribe or family did in bygone days, and those that never believed in the state and never relied on it, the purveyors of landed wealth and tribal identity that scoff at the state, its procedures, and its laborious processes. In one Karachi apartment building, these two worlds collided and the world of the old and the entitled won.

Author Image

Rafia Zakaria is an attorney and human rights activist. She is a columnist for DAWN Pakistan and a regular contributor for Al Jazeera America, Dissent, Guernica and many other publications.

She is the author of The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan (Beacon Press 2015). She tweets @rafiazakaria

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (90) Closed

me Sep 13, 2013 03:45pm

blog written in typical English :(

Abdullah Ibn e Adam Sep 13, 2013 03:50pm

i) Under skewed interpretation of Islamic laws, by providing a window of Qisas and Diyat, does God want to favor the rich criminals by affording them the luxury to literally walk away with premeditated murder even without post facto remorse? (remember the retarded smile and victory sign?)

ii) Has the state that invokes Qisas and Diyat provided protection and accountability to witnesses and family of the victims, as was provided to all citizens of early Islamic period states? Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) is reported to have said "If a dog dies hungry on the banks of the River Euphrates, Umar will be responsible for dereliction of duty."

iii) If unremorseful murderers walk away from premeditated murder without a scratch, will that raise their morale and encourage others of their ilk?

iv) Islamic jurisprudence is heavily based on the concept of Haquq-al-Ibad

Zia haider Sep 13, 2013 04:08pm

Confusing events, disgusting and revolting nevertheless. Lets pray for better society.

Talal A Khan Sep 13, 2013 04:21pm

The difference between the two families in term of power may be very wide - but not as wide as it seems. Shazeb's father is a serving DSP and he is a close relative of one time powerful PPP MNA Nabil Gabool who coupel of days back admitted that the FIR was lodged after he pressurized IG, Sindth. Just imagine what an ordinary citizen of Pakistan was up to against these powerful goons!

Cosmic Lion Sep 13, 2013 04:29pm

"The Qisas and Diyat Ordinance permits the family of an accused to pardon a killer, for money or for nothing at all. It was the mechanism through which the other laws, of evidence and proof and criminal convictions were set aside." This is as per Islamic law. Live with it.

Rajeev Sep 13, 2013 04:30pm

Very nice artical Rafia Zakaria ji. You have picturised the whole event in a very nice way and the message is also very clear. Good work. Keep it up.

Tilikum Sep 13, 2013 04:41pm

The choice is simple: how much influence does religion must have in affairs of the state. The murderers were granted a pardon under Islamic law. But I have a simple question, if the murdered person was still somehow able to communicate, would he had forgiven his killers ? Of course we cannot know because he is dead. Just ask yourself a simple question, would you want your murderer to be pardoned ? It is time we consider where we are heading: minorities are targeted, girls are beaten up to force them into marriage, ones appearance rather than actions define ones piety, state wants to impose its idea of piety and religion on everyone e.g by banning YouTube, when a murderer of a governor is hailed a hero, and countless examples. It is time we look at other countries, the only successful country with muslim majority is Turkey and they have achieved this by keeping religion and state affairs separate. Time to consider if we truly want "Islamic" in "Islamic Republic of Pakistan" ? And what we mean by "Islamic" ?

Khanm Sep 13, 2013 05:08pm

It is the war between virtues an vice. It is a war of our moral values. It is a war of David and Goliath. It is a war against denying the justice. It is a war against the crime and punishment. It is a war against Zalim and Muzlum. It a war that will mold our future justice system. At the day of judgement we will be raised with Oppressors if we loose this war.

Nony Sep 13, 2013 05:33pm

the world of dew a world of dew it is indeed, and yet, and yet . . . Poor has always lost their war on the hands of feudal and privileged but as mentioned by writer the achievers have also lost their war despite all the efforts. in fact this is the defeat of everyone else living in this country except for few feudal families.

Sonal Sep 13, 2013 05:42pm

Sonal Sep 13, 2013 05:47pm

They were pardoned and let go??? I am shocked! Up until now I was thinking that the parents just forgave them, and it was up to the judiciary to decide what happens next. This is horrible!!!

The boys in this picture don't even look apologetic. They look arrogant and scornful.

danish Sep 13, 2013 06:24pm

but same incident in muzzafarnagar in uttar pradesh. a large numbers deaths of hindu and muslim . unfortunately

Caminzed Sep 13, 2013 06:34pm

There is no hope for Pakistan. Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.

zehra Sep 13, 2013 06:39pm

excellent article Rafia ...... when i saw and heard that news on the television i was no more surprise to see his victory sign he has no guilty what he has done i have a firm believed on Allah nearer future he would be badly suffer inshallah i can understand what kind problem shahzab family have been facing since all this started far as my own opinion concerned a boy should be hang in front of all just because of showing the sign of victory instead of ashamed after hearing death punishment

Saifur Rahman Sep 13, 2013 06:49pm

An emotionally filled heartbreaking true story and off course very well written. It is shameful, disgusting and sickening to even think that a modern state like Pakistan can ever introduce laws such as Qisas and Diyat. These are uncivilized and barbaric traditions of the bygone dark ages when money & power could govern who would escape sentences and which poor fellows were surely doomed to capital punishments. These laws with its present form and context (in Pakistan) can be considered uncivilized under all standards of morality and ethics. Defenders of such laws bring forth example from different Ayats of Al Quran (in favor of Qisas and Diyat), but they never mention that God has clear instruction to use our brain and follow only contextual meaning of HIS commandments. To my knowledge today, two other Asian countries have these laws--Saudi Arabia and Iran. I had never even dreamt in wildest of my imaginations that Pakistan (a country where I was born and a place with which I am still emotionally attached) could ever follow such a self-debilitating trajectory. People of Pakistan should wake up against such gross and disgraceful social anomalies & injustice and protest using all legal, democratic and diplomatic avenues.

danish Sep 13, 2013 07:12pm

same incident in muzaffarnagar district but there are large number of death in hindu muslim riots unfortunately

concerned Sep 13, 2013 07:26pm

thank you.

please keep the pressure going until the court decides.

As a Pakistani brother I dont forgive Shahzaibs killers. hope that counts for something

Ahsan Masood Sep 13, 2013 07:52pm

@me: what is that supposed to mean?

Imran Sep 13, 2013 08:48pm

I hope the achievers don't let off the pressure and protest against these goons.

Reading today's (Dawn) headlines about the four convicted rapists getting death sentences, while the 'Land of the pure' treats its criminals with " Ba izzat Burri kya jaata ha". So much for the Islamic law.

I physically feel nauseated. Must go and throw up.

Ali S Sep 13, 2013 09:02pm

The criticism hurled at Shahzeb's family for their decision is baffling. They're the ones who lost a son and a brother - whatever decision they made (whether under duress or not), they made keeping their safety and best interests in mind and they're fully entitled to it. And by the way, Shahzeb's family forgave the killers unconditionally, they did not accept any financial compensation for it. Blame this country's hopeless legal system instead of the poor victim's family for the way this episode turned out.

Shahrukh Jatoi and co. are truly the scum of this society, but in this country's corrupt judicial system, pursuing this case would mean that Shahzeb's family would have to go to court for years on end without any hope of a resolution in sight. Maybe they needed closure for the sake of their own mind's relief and wanted to move on from this tragedy.

This sorry excuse of a nation needs to sort itself out and stop pinning the blame on Shahzeb's family for "giving murderers a free pass" if they want to prevent such incidents in the future, and the media and Shahzeb's friends need to stop taking the high moral ground over his own family.

Aleem k Sep 13, 2013 09:13pm

since when did son of DSP living in defence karachi become aam aadmi? aam aadmi ka tou koii puchnay wala nahin

Jupiter59 Sep 13, 2013 09:34pm

Excellent article. The reality of Pakistan today. Unless and until feudalism and feudals wiped out from the face of this country, true justice will always be an illusion.

I. Ahmed Sep 13, 2013 09:44pm

This is another victory of waderas and influentials in Pakistan. Listening to the phone interview of the father on a TV channel, one could sense his hopelessness. His point for pardoning, under duress or for money, makes sense in the justice system of Pakistan - the High Court, Supreme Court, Presidential pardon and so on. It would have taken ages. Knowing the father of the deceased through newspapers and interviews, it is not beyond comprehension that he does not believe in the justice system delivering the justice and protecting witnesses and his family. Historically in Pakistan the feudals and landlords have shown us the only justice is to take revenge - vigilante way - yourself; the courts and police will never let a feudal

samina sattar Sep 13, 2013 09:56pm

when justice fails revenge is the not befriend them. turn your face,point fingers at them and isolate them, humiliate them,laugh at not invite them,do not go to their houses and do not marry in their families. its worse then death.

AKNasser Sep 13, 2013 10:40pm

Now let us try to get rid of dynastic leadership, case in point Zardari-Bhutto clan' hold on power in Sindh and business tycoons of Raiwind hold on Punjab.

Ahmar Mustikhan Sep 13, 2013 11:02pm

As a half cousin of victim Shahzeb's mother, I was the first to urge forgiveness. Forgiveness is better than revenge. But I am lost why the culprits made a "V" sign. These villains should be ashamed of themselves.

Jawwad Saeed Sep 13, 2013 11:30pm

If you ask a common person on a road if they wish to see enforcement of Shariah, most will say Yes without a second thought. Now, if you ask the same person what do they think of the recent verdict of Shahzeb killers getting away paying blood money and they will say without hesitation it is wrong and justice was not done. Now, Pakistanis need to get their heads around that justice was provided to victim's family as per the Shariah. What it tells me people have absolutely no clue the dimensions of shariat law. personally, I would not want it close to my family or any loved one.

Yusuf Sep 14, 2013 12:01am

Blood money clause should be abolished. Our society is TOO corrupt to be trusted with such a law. It is being misused and abused.

Ado Sep 14, 2013 12:01am

Islamic law boys. What's the problem? It's all good in the land of the pure muslim

Upset one Sep 14, 2013 12:06am

Hope someone shoots them

Raj Patel Sep 14, 2013 12:06am

This is utter nonsense in the name of Allah!!! People should admit that There is nothing like justice in Pakistan.

Saima Sep 14, 2013 12:54am

@me: Hmm..... , would you prefer written in english and read as French????????

Parvez Sep 14, 2013 01:05am

As it stand today the whole thing boils down to: Is the use of God to evade justice correct........the answer has yet to be given.

Ghazi Sep 14, 2013 01:19am

typical, but sad. the powerful can do what they want, when they want, and how they want. The poor parents were likely warned and most likely threatened to pardon the boys, else, the two unmarried daughters would be kidnapped or worse.

To those in Pakistan.. demand action. Seek out the corrupt, evil, vile human beings in your country, and start taking the law into your own hands, because, no one less will.

Naj Haq Sep 14, 2013 02:13am

Why do we think that the story has ended here ... With some mobilization , I am sure there is more to come.

Pakistani Sep 14, 2013 04:40am

@Sonal: When someone commit a crime, one of the victims is the society. The law being broken derives its authority from the constitution of pakistan, and hence by default the state of pakistan is a stakeholder in the case. Pardoning laws are loopholes the feudal elites inserted to circumvent this fact and have no constitutional backing in light of the above fact. The state is still responsible to prosecute, convict and incarcerate these evil men to the fullest extent of the law even though they received a pardon from the parents of the victim. It is the responsibility of the civil society to see that these criminals are back in prison.

Pakistani Sep 14, 2013 04:41am

@Abdullah Ibn e Adam: well put my friend

Maryam Siddique Sep 14, 2013 04:55am

The issue isn't forgiveness. The issue is that Shah Rukh doesn't even feel ashamed of the fact that he committed a murder. He was laughing, which is almost as if he was laughing at the future generations of Pakistan saying hey you can do what you like but you can't hold me accountable.

On the other hand Shahzeb was a DSP's son. How do we know Shahzeb's father was a fair police officer? How do we know that Shahzeb's father (DSP) didn't get in the way of justice for other people's murdered sons?

The only way Shahzeb's family could have struck a deal is if his father DSP was a corrupt police officer and if there was proof to blackmail him.

Not only that but who slaps a feudal in Pakistan? The only reason shahzeb slapped shahrukh's servant is because he knew he could get away with it cos of his DSP father.

Similarly the protests in favour of Shahzeb were effective because Police supported them due to the DSP. If the protests were for an oridinary citizens's son who wasn't a son of policeman or feudal then the police would have baton charged them.

So maybe the activism for Shahzeb was successful because he was son of DSP.

So unless we can be sure that Shahzeb's father was an honest man I am not too sure if i care much if Shahrukh is freed or not cos as they say in punjabi jiyo je marnay walay uhiyo je konay alay - maybe shahzeb and shahrukh both have corrupt fathers?

Anonymous Sep 14, 2013 05:19am

Looks like Pakistanis are totally unaware of the Life after death. They totally have forgotten that "Total Control" is in the hands of the creator ...who is "JUST" and can't be impressed by someone's position and wealth. Killing someone is not an act of bravery, the real bravery will be when the killer comes face-to-face with his own end, then use the resources to change it. Only one message to Pakistanis .. this murder is on the neck of everyone if justice is not served due to the status of the killers. Also, if one killer is unjustly saved from the wordly punishment, who is going to save him the day when everyone will be standing "NAKED" ....the presidents, prime ministers, tycons, name them. Quran says, the close meaning of which is "killing of one life is killing the whole humanilty". Are we prepared to answer to the one who is watching with SABR as to how those given the control very temporarily are (mis)using it. Its time to repent and return.

Vijay@Toronto Sep 14, 2013 06:20am

@me: Pray, tell, what is non-typical English?

kdspirited Sep 14, 2013 08:29am

Qisas and Diyat law only applies in cases when someone kills another by accident not in case of pre-meditation and intent. This is the wrong interpretation of the religion. Also not to mention the victims two sisters. Who would protect them if these two were hanged. These girls would become future victims of these feudals without a doubt. There is not justice in this world for the victims

outdated Sep 14, 2013 08:30am

@Khanm : Your comment is correct but is applicable before the killers were pardoned. Now that the family has pardoned them, stop emotionally blackmailing the situation. Unfortunately, Supreme Court chief judge and media are too biased, full of ego, and blood thirsty to see both sides of the picture. This is, of course, Pakistan.

Bob Smith Sep 14, 2013 10:47am

Why does the prison Justice absent in Pakistan? Why cant these two guy have the same fate as Jeffrey Dhamer?

malik Sep 14, 2013 10:50am

@Sonal: The article is not right. They are still in jail waiting on a hearing from High court. By the way would anyone dare to look at these laws again? Or are we supposed to take God's words literally?

Binod Sep 14, 2013 11:11am

Islamic laws are far better than modern laws, because they are send by GOD, not manufactured by fallible humans !!

zahid Sep 14, 2013 11:18am

You guys missing a point here. Pakistan has become a place where people will sell their soul for little money. 35 crore offer was too big for this middle class family to ignore. I think almost 99% of people in Pakistan would have done it and elite class knows it very well. The elites know that there is no back bone left in the nation thus do as you please. Just look at our governments. Do they care when they abuse their power openly in the streets? Their guards point guns at common people driving on the streets, barricades in front of their homes, road closures in the name of VIP movement, promises during elections broken so easily, raise prices or taxes at will etc etc. No one complains or no one cares what is happening to them. So, until they care, these elites will continue to crush them under their feet. Personally, I do not feel sorry for this dead nation. It has no self respect left.

mansoor Sep 14, 2013 11:32am

After the guilty verdict I wrote in this space that the killers would be free in 6 months. Pressure would be applied in the form of threats, kidnap of unmarried daughter, stabbings etc. Family would scum to relentless pressure and Islam would come to help freeing the murderers. We are 500 years behind the civilized world where pardons for money were abolished. Being a crime against state it was the state who can or not pardon a murderer. Like the education aparthaid where there are 4 different mediums for education, there are 4 different justice systems in our Pak country. Poor and achievers would be pinned down in one or the others, landed and entitled would walk free using the loopholes provided. More sad days to see.

junaid Sep 14, 2013 12:25pm

@Sonal: The court has not pardoned. it was clearly stated two days ago that the case has not been disposed of as the case is being heard in anti- terrorism court, so even if the parents forgive the court will not. once the case is decided in the anti terrorism courts they are not politically or religiously influenced

Khalid Sep 14, 2013 12:30pm

@me: There is no sign of shame and remorse on the killers. It is the responsibility of State to do the Justice for society. Then there is Justice by Allah and He will do justice by Makafat -e - Amal in this world not hereafter to show His Justice.

Syed Iqbal Sep 14, 2013 01:05pm

How many more deaths will it take for the collective conscience of the nation to wake? A sad day for all who stood up to defend a boy willing to take on the mighty.

bluecomet Sep 14, 2013 02:36pm

The Islamic law of Qisas says that you can only forgive with your own free will. If you were forced on it, then the story isnt over. Dont blame the family either.

Truth Sep 14, 2013 03:00pm

Shahzeb Khan

rashad Sep 14, 2013 03:08pm

This whole system is retarded!

Dave Sep 14, 2013 03:09pm

Very appropriately titled a pie for an eye.

faisal Sep 14, 2013 03:18pm

I have decided to buy a gun for myself, No courts its the fottest who will survive in the jungle kingdom of Pakistan

Irfan Husain Sep 14, 2013 03:23pm

This case highlights the absurdity of the Diyat and Qisas Ordinance as it gives the rich and the powerful a loophole to literally get away with murder.

Aussie Sep 14, 2013 04:57pm

@Tilikum: I agree with you 100% mate - either you impose the sharia and Islamic laws as they should be (like SA, Iran and Taliban) - whatever brand of Islam it wants to impose .. and then openly say Pakistan is an Islamic state with no room for non-muslims (of that particular brand), and no room for dissent and live in the 7th century .. OR totally dissociate the state from religion and live in the modern world as a responsible state .. mixing the two is the law of the jungle

Aussie Sep 14, 2013 05:00pm

@Cosmic Lion: Exactly - live with it - in the 7th century .. better turn off the electricity, phones, TV, vehicles, allopathic medical treatment and all the inventions which are a conspiracy against muslim Ummah by the Yahood o Nasarah, cos in Quran there is no mention of any of these evils.

Aussie Sep 14, 2013 05:10pm

@Abdullah Ibn e Adam: very good points .. but the problem is - YOU think the Islamic law was misused where as there are as many maulana who will support you and as many who will oppose you ..

there are only 2 ways to it 1) whatever college of Islamic scholars pass the decrees which are binding on every one without any room for debate - the brand of Islam, whatever it is, is imposed very strictly and beheading anyone who doesnt agree with it - examples SA and Iran

2) completely separate religion and state and shut these maulvis up for good - examples the rest of the world

It is now choice of Pakistan if it wants to live in the 7th or 21st century

Saifur Rahman Sep 14, 2013 06:06pm

@Abdullah Ibn e Adam: Your explanation is simply brilliant !!!

sabeeh omer Sep 14, 2013 06:36pm

You have uttered what millions of Pakistanis feel. A society divided between those who are above the law and those that have to knock on the doors of justice which is usually denied. These monsters certainly do not deserve to be set free, let alone live. They have never shown remorse over their deed. On the contrary they have been flashing victory signs with arrogance and delight. I am dead sure that Shahzeb's parents have pardoned these criminals under duress and threats of retaliation. But, whatever the reason, in doing so they have hurt and humiliated the hundreds of Pakistanis who had stood up for Shahzeb and taken it as their cause!

Irfan Haqqee Sep 14, 2013 07:01pm

@Cosmic Lion:

I think it was the coercion and fear of reprisal rather than Islamic law that was applied in this case and we cannot live with it.

Umer Ejaz Sep 14, 2013 07:35pm

And this is the whole truth ... it is what it is ... a world where the right connections can get you out of Jail, for even murder.

There is no other way to explain the situation more honestly than it has been done in this article.

Bilal Sep 14, 2013 07:39pm

@Tilikum: As far as I know in Islam there should be no pressure on the family or the heirs to forgive the guilty,which in this case is doubted. You cannot criticise Islam on this.This is our fault if we did not try to establish a system where all are dealt equally.

Khalid Sep 14, 2013 10:07pm

"Disgusted" This is the "law or customs" of Pakistan, probably the "worst example of a Islamic country" Justice is a "joke or mockery of sorts" So "might is right?" Religion is a "joke"

rich Sep 14, 2013 10:30pm

@Sonal: that us uslamic law, a reletive can pardon the accused

Ahmad Junaid Anwar Samdani Sep 15, 2013 12:00am

I'm really shocked to hear this. The struggle of middle class went in vain. I can very well imagine how Shahzaib's family would have been forced to take such decision. At the very least, we should keep striving for justice in Pakistan and pray for that..

DrBashir Sep 15, 2013 12:27am

@Tilikum: If the state didn't accord appropriate protection to the victim's family then I think the law is not to blame. This seemed like an extraordinary circumstance and since the perpetrator's family was very strong, there should be some clause in the law which should take this privilege (of forgiveness) away.

The law has its merits but when you hear the father say that I felt I was getting alone over time and I had to look out for other people too then it is clear they were pressured. Someone has to take this into account and remove the forgiveness provision from this law if there is economic or some kind of tribal influence disparity between the parties. I believe this is called Ijtihad.

A campaign should be started to add this clause to the law. I'm sure there will be more support than opposition. Let's do this, for Shahzeb.

noor Sep 15, 2013 06:04am

The whole system is there to serve these feudal families.Imagine the state of police if a serving DSP cannot file an FIR without the phone call from a powerful person. Getting food from home in jail and them getting pardon. What a disappointment for everyone. The failure of state in providing safety and justice to its people is exposed so bluntly in this case that someone like me who neither has money nor any influential uncle is force to think that what am i supposed to expect in this country. Who is there to protect me.NOBODY !!! The state has failed miserably and almost shamelessly.

Jamal Khan Sep 15, 2013 08:08am

People in Pakistan lose all sense when the word 'Islamic' is mentioned. Laws designed for a tribal, pre-industrial society cannot be effective in the twenty first century. Stop trying to force a square peg in a round hole. Murder is a crime against the society and the state. No individual should have the right to interfere. The weakness of those primitive laws is evident here.

saad Sep 15, 2013 10:37am

@Abdullah Ibn e Adam: You mentioned a number of points in your post, but the fact is as of today cold blooded murderers are pardoned it was a planned murder not a spur of the moment or a sudden burst of anger ..... an ordinanry muslim like me finds it extremely hard to understant the rationale of such a proovison in islamic law ... it wasnt a battle between two tribes so not an issue of continutiy of bloodshed and now no more a victims family/tribe take a life for a life .... so whats the need to allow parents or any one pardoning death of an adult and independent young man

A.Ghafoor Sep 15, 2013 12:00pm

@me: Poor has always lost their war because might is riht

Aamir Z Sep 15, 2013 12:01pm

@Cosmic Lion: Its is not mate.... family can pardon only if it the murder was committed by mistake or under confusion; and the Qazi (state in this case) thinks that its a pardonable crime. This Islamic law has been wrongly implemented in Pakistan to favor a few. Thats how brothers kill their sisters as honor killing and then their father pardon their sons (all pre-planned).

Sheran Sep 15, 2013 12:50pm

Thought-provoking article about the unfortunate and tragic death of Shahzaib. The govt. of Pakistan must look into the matter and while providing full protection to grieved family, it should hang the killers immediately.

Farid Ahmed Sep 15, 2013 02:57pm

Qisas and Diyat allows a murderer to be pardoned, by the victims. This may have been allowed in shape of avoiding capital punishment. But as a crime has been committed; state law must have been imposed disallowing the criminals release prior to undergoing some reasonable sentence in jail. The state can not absolve itself by ignoring a culpable crime as a case between two private citizens in which state has no stakes. The rule to this effect must be made and enforced

Saeed Khan Sep 15, 2013 05:19pm

Execute them all and put their parents in jail for having brought up this breed of criminals.

bkt Sep 15, 2013 07:13pm

@Ahmar Mustikhan: V is for villains.

bkt Sep 15, 2013 07:15pm

@AKNasser: Who is going to give that to us? I hope the army doesn't, because they are the ones who first gave us Bhutto (who lost the elections) and then Nawaz Sharif, against whom there is a case filed by Asghar Khan in the Supreme court.

bkt Sep 15, 2013 07:27pm

The problem is neither with the law or the feudals. The problem is with ourselves. Urban parents let their children flaunt the law openly and get away with minor misdemeanours. When they grow up they stop distinguishing right from wrong and expect to get away with certain things. When I was in my teens, many people did not mind too much if their sons drove their cars or motorbikes even before they reached the age of 18. This illegal act still happens. My father in the other hand would not let me touch the car until I was 18 ad a half and had passed my drivers test to get my license. The result is that many people grow up assuming they will always get away with things thanks to their parents influence whether they are illegally driving a car or driving a motorbike. The killers grew up with the same idea.

Aziz Sep 15, 2013 08:33pm

Using Islam again!

This time but to evade justice. why did they not declare their intentions to forgive the killers before the proceedings started at such huge expense to the nation, both emotional and monetary.

The Pakistani taxpayers would be within their rights to demand the entire expense back from the family of the 'forgivers' after this highly dubious exercise of Qisas laws.

As a precaution all future cases where Qisas law can be invoked the indviduals must declare in advance before the proceedings start whether they wish to exercise their right to pardon. Let us not waste taxpayers funds if they declare in affirmative and let them pay for justice themselves.

taffazul Sep 15, 2013 08:41pm

Qisas and diyat are according to my understanding of the Holy Quran are only for accidental death and not premeditated murder.

shaukat Sep 15, 2013 10:04pm

@noor:Where else can this happen except in Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Shame on you guys.

shaukat Sep 15, 2013 10:03pm

@Aussie: Excellent advice.

Abdullah Sep 16, 2013 05:44am

I feel as perhaps given the state of affairs this was the better outcome. The alternative was likely a lot of fear and bloodshed for Shahzeb's family and supporters....

In the end...sooner or later...Justice will prevail. Allah promises us that and Allah keeps his promise.

Freedom Boy Sep 16, 2013 08:21am

The law is for all and it needs to have room for exception and pardons need to be done away with as almost all are done under some for of duress.

Dipankar Sarkar Sep 16, 2013 09:43am

@Irfan Husain: Are you the Dawn columnist?

vijay Sep 16, 2013 11:15am

@me: or should have been written in Queens English

Khalid Sep 16, 2013 01:29pm

This is precisely what has been happening in Pakistan. Using Islam to your advantage is just another extensiopn of using power, money and position in society to gain benefit. It is disgusting. The boy lost his life in a cold blooded murder and his father, mother and sisters pardoned the murderer!. Please remove all Islamic laws from our judicial system. It is making us all confused. It is also making all of us a laughing stock of the world. It is nothing but victory for people with money and a slap on the face of ordinary citizens of Pakistan. Since when Islam has become the religion of the rich?.

Khalid Sep 16, 2013 01:34pm

@Anonymous: Let us stop hiding behind religion. It is disgusting. I want him punished NOW for his crime.

Khalid Sep 16, 2013 01:38pm

@Maryam Siddique: What a fantastic point you raise. You only have to ask people who knew the DSP.