‘Shambolic conclusions’: Pakistani Twitter in disbelief after Shahrukh Jatoi’s acquittal in Shahzeb murder case
The verdict of the high-profile Shahzeb murder case is out and the legal experts and members of the media expressed their sheer disbelief on Twitter over the outcome that took nearly a decade to reach.
The Supreme Court, earlier in the day, acquitted Jatoi as well as his accomplices in the 2012 murder case that stayed in the limelight ever since it surfaced.
The acquittal of convict Shahrukh Jatoi in the case has raised eyebrows with several legal experts, civil society members expressing dismay over the verdict and debating the transparency in the justice system of the country.
Reacting to the development, social activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir pointed out flaws in the legal system that, he believes, allegedly helps the rich go scot-free.
“Till our laws won’t change we can only do so much as a society and concerned citizens. From Shahrukh Jatoi to Jam Karim, the rich and powerful exploit provision of compromise in our legal system to get away with murder of the weak and poor,” he said in a tweet.
Lawyer Hassan Niazi echoed the sentiments of the many Twitterati who vented disappointment at Jatoi’s acquittal.
“Will wait for the inevitable convoluted judgement, and the apologists, but if this judgement doesn’t demonstrate that there are different standards applied in our law for the rich and powerful then I don’t know what does,” he tweeted.
In another Twitter post, Niazi termed the system “abhorrent”, saying the underlying problem was with a broken criminal justice system, where the rich and powerful had the avenue of “compromise” and blood money to get away with murder.
Lawyer Abdul Moiz Jaferii made a brief, yet hard-hitting comment on the verdict: “Sham laws, sham trials and shambolic conclusions.”
TV journalist Maria Memon said Jatoi’s acquittal “proves that it is almost impossible to convict the elite in Pakistan”.
“Who’s next now? Zahir Jaffar? Shahnawaz Amir?” she questioned.
An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) had awarded the death penalty to Jatoi and his accomplice Siraj Ali Talpur for Shahzeb’s murder in 2012 following a petty dispute. Siraj’s younger brother, Sajjad Ali Talpur, and domestic helper Ghulam Murtaza Lashari had been handed life sentences.
A couple of months after the sentence was passed, however, Shahzeb’s parents had issued a formal pardon for the convicts, approved by the Sindh High Court (SHC).
Despite the pardon, however, the death penalty had been upheld because of the addition of terrorism charges to the case — up until the SHC dropped the charges and ordered a retrial in the case.
The SHC, while hearing appeals against the conviction, had later commuted the death sentences into life imprisonment. Subsequently, all four accused had approached the Supreme Court.
Header photo: Jatoi during one of his initial appearances in court flashed a victory sign. ─ Dawn/File