An eye for an eye: A death sentence to Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur, life to another

Published: June 7, 2013
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A poster with the picture of Shahrukh Jatoi during a protest held against the killing of Shahzeb Khan. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/ THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur, along with two others, have been given the death sentence today. The harsh reality of murder has just taken its form and reactions across the board differ.

Many people are pondering over whether or not this really is justice served.

In my opinion, it is.

As cruel as it may sound, I not only agree with the decision made by the court but laud their valour to resort to such a decision. Many feel this may be another instance of judicial activitism but this is, unfortunately, justice in its raw form.

Some may argue that the sentence is not proportionate to the age of the defendants, however, what they fail to consider is the proportionality of the punishment to the crime committed. One could argue that our religion teaches us to forgive and maybe a less severe punishment is more appropriate, but then you didn’t lose your son, did you?

I am not married, but the closest I have to kids are my nephews. My blood boils when I hear of them even remotely being bullied at school; my heart races when they fall off of a swing or scrape their knees on the road when they come running to say hello – but this was death. The parents of Shahzeb Khan will never see their son again, they will never hear him laugh or experience the changes he undergoes in his life.

I am not this boy’s parent, sibling, relative or friend, but the pain they feel is ruthlessly palpable.

How could I forgive the person who took a gun and brutally shot at my child four times? How could I forget the face of my child when he comes to me wrapped in a white shroud? How could I forget the face of the boys who shot my son and then left him to die in cold blood?

My child, my relatives, my siblings, my parents, my nephews are all a part of me, my body and soul, outside of me. How do I seek to survive without all my parts functioning?

This verdict is not only justifiable, it also serves as a lesson to society. The judiciary does not care whose son or daughter you are, what societal status you hold or how much money you have. In front of a judge you are on your own – disconnected from all those who support you and you will be held accountable for all your actions. There is no escaping it.

This was a necessity. If either Shahrukh Jatio or Siraj Talpur were excused for their actions, thrown in juvi or a rehabilitation center or given a sentence, less severe in its nature, you would have made this nation a breeding ground for juvenile murderers.

We have already seen the kind of example this case set for an even younger lot of children – Hamza Ahmed. We lost another life to that incident too.

Many argue that the main cause in all this is the upbringing of the child. The fact that it is a clear parental failure and that they, the parents should be held accountable in this instance and not the child. However, a death sentence to the children of these parents is the most direct punishment any parent could be afforded. Tacit as it may be, it is directed clearly towards not only these parents but all parents out there who have borne children.

This obsession with guns and blood has to stop. We have already lost far too many young lives and we will keep losing more until we do something about it. This has to stop.

Parents should take this verdict as a warning; your child is never old enough to carry arms or ammunition of any kind and not every Tom, Dick or Harry should be hired as a ‘guard’ to protect your kids. If you look closely at the facts of the recent cases of murder that have taken place you will notice that it is not really the child that initiates the argument – it is the guard that instigates it and it is the easy access to arms that conclude both cases.

I hope that this case comes as a welcome first step to disarming the people of the country. Weapons are not toys and lives are not games. Only those of age, with enough experience and training should be allowed to man a weapon of any kind.

You cannot commit murder and then roam about scot free. This verdict has shunned all opinions that drew the conclusion that the upper class will have an upper hand – sources will be used – justice will be tampered with and Shahzeb will be a name lost in history. It is a lesson served and one that should be taken seriously by one and all.

One life is worth waging a judicial war over. Every life is worth waging a judicial war over.

Nobody ever said justice would be lenient.

Read more by Erum here or follow her on Twitter @shaikherum

erum.shaikh

Erum Shaikh

The writer is a News Editor at The Express Tribune and has an Undergraduate Degree in Law from the University of London. She tweets @shaikherum (twitter.com/shaikherum)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.