ISLAMABAD, Jan 4: The Supreme Court has given the Sindh police 24 hours to arrest the killers of Karachi youth Shahzeb Khan or be ready for serious consequences.
The tragic murder of 20-year-old Shahzeb invited the attention of the apex court which directed the advocate general of Sindh and the provincial police chief to appear before it on Friday. However, they did not turn up.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed ordered Inspector General of Sindh Police Fayyaz Leghari to arrest within a day the accused involved in the murder of Shahzeb, attach their property and seize their bank accounts.
Police are required to submit a report on the arrest of the facilitators and abettors of the murder to the court’s registrar by Saturday.
The IG and other officials would be dealt with strictly in accordance with the law if they failed to do so, the court warned before adjourning the proceedings to Monday.
Shahzeb Khan, son of Deputy Superintendent of Police Aurangzeb Khan, was gunned down on the night between Dec 24 and 25 when he was returning home, along with his sister, after attending a wedding at the Country Club Apartments in Karachi.
After the heinous murder, hundreds of people gathered outside the Karachi Press Club and requested the chief justice to take suo motu notice about police failure to arrest the killers.
On Friday, Additional IG Muhammad Rafiq and Additional Advocate General Kasim Mir Jat informed the court that the IG and advocate general of Sindh could not attend the proceedings because of cancellation of their flights due to heavy fog.
“Tell him (IG) he will not be pardoned this time by the court like he was in the past,” the chief justice said, adding that he should have appeared in person.
An interview of Sikandar Jatoi, father of accused Shahrukh Jatoi, aired by a private TV channel was played in the courtroom in the presence of Sindh police officials and the court observed that inference could be drawn that perhaps police were reluctant to proceed against the accused because he belonged to an influential family.
Sikandar Jatoi claimed in the interview that his son had left the country on the night between Dec 24 and 25, but the AIG insisted before the court that Shahrukh was still in Pakistan.
A report submitted by the Sindh police admitted the failure of police and alleged that some influential people were obstructing investigation and arrest of the suspects.
After going through the report, the court regretted that an anchorperson of the private TV channel could talk to Shahrukh’s father, but police could not arrest the accused.
After the court’s observations and order, Karachi’s Darakhshan police station, along with personnel of the Shalimar police station in Islamabad, swung into action and raided a house in Sector F-10/2 in the capital in a bid to arrest Shahrukh, but found no-one there except a servant, Mushtaq, who hails from Dera Ismail Khan.
Although Islamabad police denied having made any arrest, Karachi police said the servant had been taken into custody for interrogation.
SHO Qasim Niazi told Dawn that three officers of Darakhshan police station had arrived at Shalimar police station and sought his assistance.
“They only informed us about the raid to arrest a person wanted by Karachi police,” he said. A supervisory officer of Shalimar police station said the house raided was owned by Sikandar Jatoi. The Karachi police raided the house on a tip-off, he added.
Deputy Inspector of South Zone Karachi Shahid Hayyat, who is supervising the investigation, said: “We have a person who is under investigation”.
Besides, he said, some information had been collected from the house, including telephone numbers.