Pakistan’s Supreme Court officially acquits accused in Shahzeb Khan’s murder case
Pakistan and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
A bench of Pakistan’s Supreme Court has acquitted the previously convicted culprits of the 2012 Shahzeb Khan murder, after a decade of trials and appeals. This decision follows a much contested pardon issued in 2013, merely a year after the murder, as charges for the accused have been largely contested alongside issues of jurisdiction and accountability have been brought up both in court and in society at large.
Shahzeb Khan was twenty years old at the time of the murder, on December 24th, 2012. The incident reportedly took place in Karachi’s Defence Housing Society after a fight ensued following Khan’s sister being reportedly threatened and harassed, after which Khan was fatally shot. Shahzeb Khan’s murder instantly sparked outrage accross Pakistan, prompting the Chief Justice of Pakistan at the time and the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the murder and arrest and process the suspects without delay. The main suspects in the case were Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Ali Talpur, Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari. In 2013 an Anti Terrorism Court sentenced Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Ali Talpur to death as they were alleged to have shot Khan, the same court sentenced Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari to life in prison.
Although this is a murder case, terrorism charges were brought alongside the murder charges initially established. This was widely contested before the Anti Terrorism Court as it allowed for the death penalty to remain vigent even after a pardon was issued by the victim’s parents.
The Supreme Court finally acquitted the accuseds after nullifying a retrial order effectively rejecting the shift in sentencing from the death penalty to life in prison, upholding their initial decision, in 2018. The three-judge bench issued their decision on the 18th of October 2022 to acquit Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Ali Talpur, Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, of their charges.
Sources and further reading:
- APP. Shahzeb murder case: SC to hear pleas of Shahrukh Jatoi, others on Monday. (2021, 10 January). Brecorder.com. Retrieved 19 October 2022 from: https://www.brecorder.com/news/40049579
- Bhatti, H. SC acquits Shahrukh Jatoi, others in 2012 Shahzeb murder case. (2022, 18 October). Dawn.com. Retrieved 19 October 2022 from: https://www.dawn.com/news/1715658/sc-acquits-shahrukh-jatoi-others-in-2012-shahzeb-murder-case
- BR Web Desk. Shahzeb Khan murder case: Supreme Court acquits Shahrukh Jatoi, others. (2022, 18 October). Brecorder.com. Retrieved 19 October 2022 from: https://www.brecorder.com/news/40203757/shahzeb-khan-murder-case-supreme-court-acquits-shahrukh-jatoi-others
- Feroz, A. Shahrukh Jatoi, others acquitted by SC in Shahzeb murder case. (2022, 18 October). Thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 19 October 2022 from: https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/1001151-shahrukh-jatoi-acquitted-by-sc-in-shahzeb-murder-case
- Khurshid, J. SHC sets aside Shahrukh Jatoi’s death sentence under ATA. (2017, 19 November. Thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 19 October 2022 from: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/250339-shc-sets-aside-shahrukh-jatoi-s-death-sentence-under-ata