‘Absence of justice in land of pure’: Social media reacts to Shahrukh Jatoi’s acquittal

    With the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday acquitting Shahrukh Jatoi, the main accused in the high-profile murder case of Shahzeb Khan, netizens have taken to social media against the country’s justice system, terming it a “specular instance of the absence of justice in the land of the pure”.

    Shahzeb, 20, was shot dead on the night of December 24, 2012, in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) while returning home with his sister from a wedding. He was killed for picking a fight with one of the suspects’ servants, who had verbally threatened and harassed his sister.

    An initial lack of action from the police had sparked countrywide outrage and protests against the abuse of power by the influential family of the accused, triggering a nationwide debate over whether the country’s elite could be held accountable for crimes they committed.

    An anti-terrorism court had in 2013 awarded death sentences to Jatoi and Siraj Talpur for Shahzeb’s murder, while life sentences were awarded to Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari for aiding the killers.

    A couple of months after the sentence was passed, Shahzeb’s parents issued a formal pardon for the convicts, approved by the Sindh High Court (SHC), leading to widespread concerns over pressures facing the victim’s family while pursuing the case against the influential family.

    However, despite the pardon, the death penalty had been upheld because of the addition of terrorism charges to the case.

    On November 28, 2017, the case took a dramatic turn when the SHC ordered a retrial, striking down the death penalty and commuting it to life imprisonment. In its order, SHC stated that an act of revenge over personal enmity did not equate to an act of terrorism, after which Jatoi’s family had moved the Supreme Court against the sentences.

    On December 23, 2017, Jatoi and other defendants were released from custody on bail after Shahzeb’s father submitted an affidavit in support of their bail application.


    With the apex court hearing the case Tuesday, Jatoi’s lawyer Latif Khosa told the three-member bench, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan, that the parties in the case had already reached an out-of-court settlement.

    His clients had no intention to spread terror, he argued.

    Subsequently, the court acquitted all four people. A detailed order is awaited.


    Taking to social media, activist Ammar Ali Jan said the acquittal “was another specular instance of the absence of justice in the land of the pure”. He went on to list down instances that showed “how the lives of the weak and vulnerable remain disposable from the point of view of the state”.

    “A shame for justice, disgrace to the ideology of justice,” wrote journalist Ihtishamul Haq.

    With criticism against the verdict continuing to pour in, here’s how other social media users are reacting to the acquittal:

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