KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday asked the lawyer representing the complainant party in the Shahzeb Khan murder case to file a fresh power of attorney after it was informed that the complainant has died.
A two-judge bench of SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar was hearing arguments on the appeals against the conviction of Shahrukh Jatoi and others.
During the hearing, senior counsel Sardar Latif Khosa, who is representing the appellants, contended that the offence did not fall within the ambit of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and the prosecution also remained unable to establish the same. He maintained that the compromise between the convicts and the complainant party was turned down due to the ATA.
An additional prosecutor general argued that Shahrukh had produced conflicting documents about his age during the trial while ossification test was conducted twice which stated that he was not underage at the time of the offence. He pleaded for dismissal of the appeals.
However, Advocate Mehmood Alam Rizvi, who had represented the complainant party in the past, informed the bench that a compromise was reached between both sides and it was on the record.
When the bench asked about the complainant, Mr Rizvi said that former DSP Aurangzeb Khan, the father of the deceased, had died.
The court observed that since the complainant has passed away, the lawyer has to file a fresh power of attorney on behalf of the remaining legal heirs of the deceased in order to represent the complainant side and adjourned the hearing till Jan 28.
An antiterrorism court had sentenced Shahrukh Jatoi and his friend Nawab Siraj Ali Talpur to death in June 2013, and two other co-accused were awarded life imprisonment for killing 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan on Dec 25, 2012 near his home in the Defence Housing Authority.
The convicts, through their counsel, filed appeals in the Sindh High Court against the conviction while Shahrukh had also filed a criminal review application contending that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence.
In Nov 2017, a two-judge bench of SHC headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar set aside the conviction order of ATC and sent the case to a sessions court for fresh trial and to decide the compromise as well as other applications with an observation that the offence did not come within the parameters of the ATA. Later, the sessions court released Shahrukh and others on bail.
Thereafter, around 10 civil society activists challenged the SHC judgement before the Supreme Court. However, the apex court converted the appeals into a suo motu case under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and in February 2018, set aside the SHC judgement and remanded the case back to SHC with direction that the appeals be decided by a different bench of the SHC within two months.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2019