After Shahzeb Khan it may be your Son who will be killed next

December 28, 2017 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan

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Imad Zafar


Finally the sons of the Jatois and Talpurs have been given bail by court. Shahrukh Jatoi, a murderer who killed Shahzeb Khan along with his friend Siraj Talpur and accomplices, made the victory sign and walked as if he had done nothing; in fact he was walking on the rotten social and legal systems which are not able to touch the untouchables.

Shahrukh Jatoi killed the only son of the DSP of police, Aurangzaib Khan. The incident happened on December 24, 2012 when Zain, along with his family, was coming back from the marriage ceremony of his elder sister. On their way back home they were stopped by a drunk, Talpur, who tried to harass Shahzeb’s sisters. Shahzaib stopped him and Talpur had to go back as he was alone.

Later Talpur with his friend Shahrukh Jatoi and other accomplices reached the home of Shahzeb and they opened fired on Shahzeb Khan, and fled the scene. Shahzeb was rushed to hospital but he was declared dead. The news was aired instantly on the television channels and soon Shahrukh Jatoi and his friends were arrested. They were tried in a terrorism court and Shahrukh and Talpur were both awarded the death penalty. After the verdict the families of the accused approached the deceased Shahzeb Khan’s family and threatened to kill their daughters.

It was constant pressure from the powerful feudal and political families of Jatois and Talpurs that led the father of Shahzeb Khan to sign a forgiving deal. He appeared in court and gave the undertaking that he has forgiven Shahrukh Jatoi and Talpur. After that the case of Shahrukh Jatoi and Talpur was again re-opened. With the help of the Sindh provincial government the Sharukh Jatoi case was made weak on the part of the prosecution resulting in the removal of terrorism charges, and after that it was a cake walk for both the Jatois and Talpurs to mend the judicial proceedings and get their kids out of jail and legal consequences.


The father of the deceased Shahzeb Khan is said to have taken 27 crore rupees from the families of Shahrukh Jatoi and Talpur in order to forgive the blood of his son. This money is being taken in the name of Diya, an Islamic law that allows the victims to forgive the accuser in exchange for money. Raymond Davis the CIA contractor who shot down people in Lahore was also released under the same law. This law actually dates back to the tribal Arab culture of centuries ago. Strangely this law actually protects the wealthier and influential person as if somehow they are involved in a murder case they can give a large amount of money to the deceased’s family by exploiting their circumstances or pressurizing them. Since this law has an affiliation with religion there is no way that the lacunas in the law can be discussed or debated in the conservative society of Pakistan.

The family of the deceased Shahzeb Khan did the right thing by taking money from the influential feudal lords. There is a lot of criticism currently regarding Shahzeb’s family taking money and allowing the sons of feudals to go free. People taunting the father of the aggrieved family actually have no idea of the ground realities of our society. When influential and well connected people threaten to kill your children, when the children are being chased down every second, it is very hard for parents to risk the lives of their living children for the sake of dead ones. Only a fool can risk his children lives, knowing that the state and the institutions are in the pockets of the influential and well connected people.

It is actually the state that should have been upfront, it also being the responsibility of the judiciary to make sure that Shahrukh Jatoi did not get bail, even if he is forgiven by the heirs of Shahzeb Khan. After all, the brutal murder had sent waves of terror across the country and it was the matter of imposing the writ of the state. Sadly, the state itself has absolutely no interest in protecting the lives of its own citizens which raises the question why should I remain a law abiding citizen knowing that the state has left the law in the hands of criminals like Shahrukh Jatoi.


This is not the first incident where the influential have successfully played with the system. A young barrister was killed on a busy road in the capital Islamabad last year by the armed men of a famous don Taji Khokhar, but upto now the family of the barrister is helplessly seeking justice. Zain, the only son of a widow, was shot on a main road in Lahore in front of hundreds of people by a drunk Mustafa Kanju, son of a famous political person, but the widow who lost her only son, gave a statement to the court that she cannot fight this case against the influential amid the threats to her daughters, hence she forgave the culprit. The lady who was forced to walk naked in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa is still seeking justice as the people who were involved in his brutal and inhumane act are connected to Mr Khan’s political party.

Unfortunately our political elite, solely for their own benefit, support and nurture these hardcore criminals and as a result we see incidents like this where the only son of the parents loses his life and the murderers are not even touched in some cases. Our collective approach of accepting the crimes and violence has also paved the way for this lawlessness. We love to gossip about the murders, the terrorist attacks with the sip of tea and coffee, or love to post sentimental messages on social media just to pass the time, and after a day or two forget the incident and always look forward for new incidents for our time to pass.

This habit of gossiping and time passing, which actually has nothing to do with the practical change in society, is successfully being exploited by the political and feudal elite. They know that the society is not ready to stand for their rights thinking that it is only Shahzeb or Zain who have lost their lives and will never happen to their kids.

The other hypocritical attitude is our behavior towards the criminals. As the criminals like Malik Riaz, Aleem Khan, the Jatoi family, Talpur family, Taji Khokhar and many others, are rich and influential, we love to make relations with them, we even feel proud by taking selfies with them. Until and unless we do not change our attitudes towards crime and criminals, innocent kids like Shahzeb will be shot to death every now and then. It was unfortunately Shahzeb Khan’s turn but it can happen to any one of us. A knock on our door or a door bell ring and a murderer like Shahrukh Jatoi can shoot our kids too.

We have to act now by not accepting the court’s decision to set Shahrukh Jatai free and by pressurizing the government to take up the matter to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and state also becoming a party in this case. As long as a hardcore criminal like Shahrukh Jatai is roaming freely we cannot live without fear and concern for our children.

Let’s think about the above beliefs and political affiliations and start a debate on the weak law of Diya and the nexus between the criminals and the political elite. Let us at least give our children a society where they are not threatened by the criminals and murderers like Shahrukh Jatoi or Mustafa Kanju.





Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar is a journalist based in Lahore. He is a regular Columnist/Commentator in newspapers. He is associated with TV channels, radio, newspapers, news agencies, political, policies and media related think tanks.

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