ATC accepts charge-sheet in Shahzeb murder case
KARACHI, Feb 22: Overruling the opinion of a prosecutor that the Shahzeb murder case did not fall within the ambit of the anti-terror law, an anti-terrorism court accepted on Friday a charge-sheet for a murder trial.
Shahrukh Jatoi, Nawab Siraj Ali Talpur, his younger brother Nawab Sajjad Ali Talpur and their servant Ghulam Murtaza Lashari have been booked and arrested for allegedly killing 20-year-old Shahzeb in Defence Housing Authority on the night of Dec 24.
The investigation officer had submitted a charge-sheet on Feb 19 in court, which handed it over to the special public prosecutor of the ATC-III with a direction to scrutinise it and submit it in court.
Prosecutor Abdul Maroof submitted the charge-sheet in court with a scrutiny note on Friday. He stated that he had gone through the charge-sheet and police papers and was of the opinion that Sections 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 were not applicable to the case since the element of terrorism was missing.
He also cited some rulings of the superior courts in his note and stated that he was forwarding the charge-sheet to the ATC-III for an approval order because it had remanded the suspects in this case in judicial custody.
However, the court did not agree with the opinion of the prosecutor and observed that a careful examination of the charge-sheet revealed that the IO had explicitly stated that the suspects had brutally murdered the victim and the offence had not only created terror and insecurity in the locality, but also among other people/public at large since the incident was widely telecast and printed in the media.
The court ruled that prima facie the said crime came within the ambit of the ATA, thus it was accepted for trial.
Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the ATC-III also issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of absconders and directed jail authorities to produce the detained suspects in court on Feb 28.
According to the charge-sheet, the victim had an altercation with the suspects since Ghulam Murtaza tried to tease his sister and later the issue was settled by some elders, but around 20 minutes later Shahrukh and Siraj opened indiscriminate fire on Shahzeb’s vehicle on the night of Dec 24, 2012 in Defence Phase V. The car overturned and Sajjad and Ghulam, who accompanied the alleged shooters, came near the victim’s vehicle and asked their accomplices to shoot at him again since he was still alive. Hence Shahrukh and Siraj did it again, it added.
The charge-sheet further said that Shahrukh led the police for the recovery of a vehicle used in the commissioning of the offence and a crime weapon (a 9mm pistol, he used in the offence. Siraj also admitted that he threw his crime weapon (pistol) into the sea after the incident and the police conducted a thorough search, but failed to find the weapon, it added.
It said that nine empty shell casings were found at the place of the incident and as per a forensic report four of them were fired from Shahrukh’s pistol.
Eyewitnesses had also picked out the suspects during identification parades, the charge of abetment was found against Asif Lund and Salman Jatoi while Nawab Ali Jatoi and Khurram were charge-sheeted under Section 216 (harbouring offender who has escaped from custody whose apprehension has been ordered) of the Pakistan Penal Code for helping Shahrukh in escaping to Dubai, it added.
The IO further stated that Sikandar Ali Jatoi, the father of Shahrukh, was released under Section 497-II of the criminal procedure code for want of evidence and he may be charge-sheeted if any concrete evidence was collected against him. There were 53 prosecution witnesses in the charge-shee, including four eyewitnesses.
The suspects were booked under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modestly), 216, 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the PPC on a complaint of deceased’s father DSP Aurangzeb with the Darakhshan police station.
Nawab Ali Jatoi, a brother of Shahrukh, Salman Jatoi, Khurram Mohammad and Asif Lund were shown absconders in the charge-sheet.
The police also booked Shahrukh in another case (FIR 32/13) under Section 13-E of the Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965.
The Federal Investigation Agency had also registered a case against Shahrukh and others about his escape to Dubai.
The Supreme Court had also taken suo motu notice in the present case.