The killers of Shahzeb Khan, a Karachi youth who was shot to death last December, have been pardoned by a court in Pakistan. Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur had been sentenced to death for the crime, while two others culprits—Ghulam Murtaza and Sajjad Talpur—were sentenced to life in prison. The court pardoned the four after the family of Shahzeb made a request for the pardon.
In Pakistani law, the family of the victim may choose to waive qisas, or punishment. DSP Aurangzeb Khan and Ambreen Aurangzeb, the mother and father of Shahzeb, requested the court to release their son’s killer this morning “in the name of Allah.” The court was therefore obliged to comply with the request.
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Khan’s parents told local media that they were under no pressure to pardon the culprits. They also said that they had refused to take blood money from them.
Shahzeb Khan Murder
The killing of Shahzeb Khan revealed many of the issues facing Pakistani society today. Those charged with killing the young man were all from a wealthier background. Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur were both part of powerful families that have traditionally held a great deal of land in the Karachi area.
When the case was originally filed, the police officer who took the report misfiled it. That gave the accused enough time to attempt to leave the country or otherwise evade capture. The men responsible were eventually captured and brought to trial. This morning’s news shows that they will not be punished for the crimes that they have been convicted of. Those involved in the campaign to get justice for Shahzeb are voicing their opinions on Social Media.
Social Media Response
The pardon of the criminals involved has caused outrage on Twitter. Young people from all over Pakistan, and the world, have been sounding off on the pardon, and protests have been organized, including a group outside the Pakistan High Commission.
The outcry from social media and the response may not have much effect. The latest reports indicate that the family of Shahzeb Khan have decided to leave Pakistan. Geo TV has reported that the family have been issued residence visas for Australia. If it can be proven that the family was coerced into their decision to pardon the criminals, there may be some hope in getting justice for Shahzeb.
Shahzeb Khan’s sister says family living under tremendous pressure http://t.co/79FqQP78OC #JustuceforShahzeb
— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaGeoNews) September 9, 2013
Why not the law interfering or any other NGO against the murder regardless to the pardon given by Shahzeb’s family? Jatoi must be punished!
— Syed Athar Ali Shah (@AtharShahJee) September 9, 2013
The movement for justice for Shahzeb went down the dirty drain. #Justice4Shahzaib
— Syed Ali Raza Abidi (@abidifactor) September 9, 2013
Shahzeb was shot earlier…He died today!
— Dr Shahid Masood (@Shahidmasooddr) September 9, 2013
Shahzeb’s father DSP Auranzeb told me that Zardari was pressurizing him to let Shahrukh Jatoi go free. It seems that feudal justice won.
— salman ahmad (@sufisal) September 9, 2013