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Shahrukh Jatoi case will be heard by ATC

02 February, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision ordering a retrial in the Shahzeb Khan murder case. A new bench of the SHC will hear any appeals in the case filed by the civil petitioners within two months.

The case against the accused – Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Talpur and Sajjad Ali Talpur – will now be heard by an anti-terrorism court (ATC). “Evidence and arguments will be heard from scratch,” the SC ruled, adding that the bails of the accused were against the law.

The accused, who had been released on bail after the SHC had ordered a retrial in the case, were immediately taken into custody by Islamabad police and would be handed over to the Sindh police. The court ordered that their names also be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).

The bench turned all petitions by the civil society into a suo motu notice. The reason for setting aside the SHC decision will be recorded later.

In his remarks, the chief justice also said that the victory sign made by Jatoi during one of his initial appearances before the court made a mockery of the judicial system and the people of the country. “The victory sign [Jatoi flashed] has led to his downfall.”

A three-member bench of the SC, headed by the chief justice, was reviewing a civil petition on the Shahzeb Khan murder case, which is being re-examined after several petitioners contested a SHC decision to order a retrial of the case.

During the hearing Justice Nisar said that according to Article 187 of the constitution, the court has the right to ensure justice is provided. The chief justice also asked whether a settlement could be acceptable in a terrorism case.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa inquired whether a suo moto notice can be taken on the release of suspect at which the accused’s counsel said that he would welcome a suo moto notice in the case.

“The court will not review the entire case in the suo moto,” the chief justice replied.

Latif Khosa also claimed that his client was subjected to oppression as he was kept in a death cell for five years and was not even allowed to give his examinations as he was deemed a dangerous criminal.

He also argued that the court should not accept petitions seeking dismissal of SHC decision as the justice system will suffer a setback if civil petitioners were allowed an appeal in a criminal case.

Lawyer and rights activist Jibran Nasir and other citizens of Karachi had filed an appeal in the SC against the SHC decision to retry Sharukh Jatoi and his accomplices in the Shahzeb Khan murder case.

In November, the SHC had set aside the death penalty awarded to the accused and ordered a retrial in the case in a sessions court. The court’s decision was taken on a criminal review petition filed by Jatoi’s lawyer, who argued that terrorism charges should be dropped as the prime suspect was a juvenile at the time of the offence.

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