Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday took notice of media reports about Shahrukh Jatoi — the main accused in the 2012 Shahzeb murder case — being shifted to a hospital in Karachi.
Jatoi had been shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre from Karachi Central Jail on Saturday, just a week after the Supreme Court set aside the bail granted to him in the murder of 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan.
The CJP “has taken notice of reported shifting of accused Shahrukh Jatoi, and/or others from jail to hospital after cancellation of bail”, a press release issued by the court’s registrar said.
Justice Nisar has directed the inspector general of Sindh police and inspector general of jails Sindh to submit a report about the matter within 24 hours.
Hospital sources had told Dawn that young Jatoi was taken to the health facility on Friday, where he underwent medical check-up for a “health-related complaint” and was “advised” hospitalisation.
However, there was no word from the police and the health authorities to specify the nature of the illness being faced by Jatoi, who is in his early 20s.
“The nature of illness cannot be disclosed because it’s a patient’s privacy,” executive director of the JPMC Dr Seemin Jamali said at the time, adding: “No one stays at the hospital without any illness.”
Before he was released on bail in December, Jatoi had spent nearly two-and-a-half months at JPMC, where he was undergoing treatment. The hospital had been declared a sub-jail.
Jatoi was among the three accused — Siraj Talpur and Sajjad Talpur being the other two — who had been arrested after SC revoked their bails earlier this month. The fourth accused, Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, a servant of the Talpurs, is in jail.
The three accused, who were arrested from the court in Islamabad, were later brought to Karachi.
A three-judge bench headed by the chief justice on February 1 had set aside the Sindh High Court (SHC) judgement in which the Shahzeb murder case was remanded back to the criminal court for a de novo trial and antiterrorism charges were removed against the accused. The SC had also revoked the bails granted to the accused.
The apex court was seized with a joint appeal moved by 10 civil society activists challenging the Nov 28, 2017 SHC order to set aside antiterrorism charges by holding that the murder case did not fall in the jurisdiction of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
However, the Supreme Court converted the appeals into a suo motu case under Article 184(3) of the Constitution with a directive to the court office to assign a proper case number to the petitions.
Shahzeb Khan, the son of Aurangzeb Khan, a deputy superintendent police, was shot dead in Karachi on the night between Dec 24 and 25, 2012 when he was returning home after attending a wedding ceremony with his sister in the Country Club Apartments Karachi.
In Dec 2012, Shahrukh Jatoi had fled the country but had to be brought back on the orders of the Supreme Court. Jatoi and co-accused Siraj Talpur were sentenced to death by the antiterrorism court. Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza were handed life imprisonment for their involvement in the murder.
Subsequently the convicts filed an appeal in the SHC which annulled antiterrorism clauses in the case and referred it back to the district and sessions court of Karachi’s South district.
The district and sessions court on Dec 23, 2017 ordered the release of Jatoi and the other accused after Shahzeb’s father submitted an affidavit requesting the approval of Jatoi’s bail and dropping of the case as he had pardoned his son’s killer in the name of Allah.