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

Published: June 7, 2013

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

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 (

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

  • M.Kamran

    Lawful decision.I hope Justice is served and the end is met.Recommend

  • Mkz

    “How could I forgive the person who took a gun and brutally shot at my child four times?”

    Not forgiving them only makes your life bitter. It does nothing to them.

    Source: a person who has lost and learnt.Recommend

  • inc

    Well said.Recommend

  • Sharjeel

    Well done judges… FInally, Justice is served…
    Now, lets see if they are given punishment or a high court becomes a hurdle.Recommend

  • Bilal

    Well written
    well explained


  • wake up nation

    This reeks of immaturity. Well that was expected of ET blogs.Recommend

  • Faisal Khan

    Justice Prevails Finally – even against powerful and corrupt feudals. Recommend

  • Parvez

    You have come across as harsh…………but I will agree with your view point.
    In my view justice has only been half served. It will fully be served when it is seen that justice has been done and not before.
    This case is more than just about a cold blooded murder, its about the perception that the judicial system has failed and this needs to be corrected more than anything else.

  • Insaan

    It is nice to see guilty are being punished. Shahzab’s father is DSP, that probably helped. family get the justice.

    Pakistan is a country where intelligence agencies routinely interfere with justice system. Two prosecutors dealing with Rangers case where an innocent boy was shot on TV were forced to leave the country. Read the story

  • faisal

    Hang them as soon as possible because the sentence should be in action.Recommend

  • kamran

    Vengeance justifiedRecommend

  • Imran

    @wake up nation:
    From politicians to social media bloggers, emotional and overly dramatic pieces are the only way to get the Pakistani’s to notice anything.Recommend

  • RN

    @Author, An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. I feel the rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance; human action shows itself nobler in forgiveness than in revenge.Recommend

  • Let me sleep a little longer

    @wake up nation:

    Comments like the one you posted are expected too. Disagreement add variety and spice to discussions and life in generel. Now repeat with me ” Shahrukh must be hanged”.Recommend

  • Hasan

    This death sentence will never be carried out. It’ll be converted to life imprisonment, living like a king, getting every facility he demands. Police hugging Jatoi today at the court is proof of that.
    He should simply be exiled to Saudia and made to live as a woman there.Recommend

  • Stranger

    Death is nothing to celebrate about.I do hail the judgement .I am sure the slain man’s family must be rejoicing. Hope such quick ‘systems’ come to Ind too . In Ind it takes several eons and generations to pass judgements .Recommend

  • elyas kakar

    People of #Pakistan celebrating a death sentence when more than 100k different cases remain pending in 437 subordinate courts of the #SindhRecommend

  • ALi

    eye for an eye!! …. reminds me of the taliban in Afghanistan…
    really sad on the judgement and also on the comments i read and discover how ruthless and irrational our nation is. justice should be done,,,but not the taliban style…we are not talking about a serial killer or a terrorist who blew up a dozen ppl. this is a normal you guy who got carried away by rage and a sense of power..totally disproportionate sentence and very irrational. we have crap judiciary. I will count this as a second murder. 1st the powerful and the influentials and now the judiciary doing the same…redicoulous system and pethatic views of the people. sad state of affairs in our coutry,..Recommend

  • Uzma

    Beautifully articulated..
    I totally agree with the writer that the people of Pakistan need to be disarmed. Having an easy access to the arms can result you making rash decisions. Further, parents need to educate their children about the right and wrong and the sanctity of a human life. No one has a right to take anyone’s life no matter what. Recommend

  • p

    we want rule of law…good decisionRecommend

  • tahir zain

    just because they were convicted does not mean they will be executed. Twas plenty of slips between the cups and the lips! had that not been the case a convicted murderer under death sentence would not have been so happy! Recommend

  • Mani

    Lets not get carried away, its Pakistan after all. He has been given the death sentence not been put to death. Any thing can happen, he can somehow still be let off like the rapists of Mukhtar Mai or live like a prince in jail for ever like Omar Saeed. Recommend

  • Mahwish

    Put yourself in Shahzaib’s father’s shoes & say the same! @ALi: Recommend

  • shabbir meo

    An eye for an eye will leave half the world blind only if half of the world population is criminal. Gandi needed lessons in aristotlian logic.Recommend

  • Mani

    @ALi: Irrational? Are you living under a rock or do you have personal connections with this monster. This is Pakistan where these atrocities are getting more common by the day and if extreme measures are not taken, this kind of horrendous acts will only be encouraged.
    It was cold blooded murder with the killer simultaneously yelling out that he was above the law and master of the land while committing the act of violence… followed by absconding, lying and deceiving. Examples need to be made of these people* to help the mostly demoralized citizens of this God forsaken nation to keep hope for a better tomorrow.Recommend

  • SD

    @Mkz: Yeah but apart fom forgiveness this sentence is a lesson to all the ruthless feuds and elite in this society who crush the weak like ants…Recommend

  • Saira K.

    Sorry but I have to disagree. First off, I don’t even know why you brought religion into it to then go on and virtually say, ‘religion doesn’t matter’. Personally, I don’t really care where you stand on the religious spectrum but it seems kinda silly to say “I know religion says we should practice forgiveness” and then go on to dismiss it.

    Furthermore, all the death penalty does is kill someone else. Research has shown that it usually doesn’t offer the victim’s family any solace- it’s just more murder in response to a murder. And as someone above stated, being unforgiving, holding on to anger, and resentment is the worse thing you can do- it will tear you up on the inside. You should look to the actions of Desmond Tutu and Sheryl Maloy to understand the healing power of forgiveness.

    And exactly how does putting young men into a juvenile facility breed more violence? I’m sorry but the violence is already there, the killing is already happening (there’s a reason why these young men are dead).

    This behavior comes down not only to the way these youth’s are raised but what Pakistani society teaches them as well– that as wealthy males (or just males in general) they are better than everyone else, your pride and honor is of utmost importance, and women are there for you and your servants to take advantage of.

    Sorry but the death penalty isn’t about to solve any of these issues. Recommend

  • SFYunas

    @Mani: You are right. Even if you see his video on youtube, he is still laughing and smiling.

    @ALi: You say he simply got carried away with rage at that time. Ok. Is he showing any remorse??? Just look at the damn video on man. He isn’t even slightly ashamed. He knows that he will get away with this even if the court has awarded him death sentence.

  • David

    Being from the UK I have little appreciation of the situation in Pakistan. Reading the story and comments and following internet links to other similar stories, I am distressed by the lawlessless of the political and social situation that seems to exist in such a major county of the world.

    God bless youRecommend

  • I am a Khan

    Murder deserves the Death penalty. The verdict is right. But remember that the ATC has given them 7 days to appeal. My feeling is that they will appeal and this case will drag on a lot longer and no one knows what the final outcome will be. I was shocked to see the boys who murdered Shahzeb smirking and showing victory signs when coming out of court. It just shows a complete lack of remorse on their part, despite committing such a heinous crime. But then ultimately its the state and the law enforcement agencies that are to be blamed. why do they allow possession of weapons? Why do they allow this hooliganism? The sad part is Shahzeb was the son of an influential DSP and hence we saw the law in action. What about the scores of ordinary people killed in Karachi daily due to uncontrolled weapons ownership? No cases are registered for them….nor are strict laws made outlaw weapons ownership…sad.Recommend

  • TMirza

    Erum! Such a good piece! hats off! Couldn’t agree with you more! They both deserve the death sentence, this gives me so much hope! Subhan Allah! Justice did finally get served! Sure they could drag it out as long as they could but even if these vermins get to live the whole world knows what they have done, the whole world knows they have a death penalty on their heads. They won’t be able to survive in the society, we won’t let them survive InshaAllah! Let this be a lesson to the whole country of Pakistan, we are not going to tolerate the killings of innocent, we will raise our voices against injustice and we will bring justice to the shaheeds or we will die trying! Bring it on then! Recommend

  • Muhammad Awais

    This proves that Pakistan is a country where judiciary is still independent and not working under the pressure of government. Justice has served in this case.Recommend

  • amir

    Good decision by court..Recommend

  • Mohammad Usama

    Call me a prt spoiler or whatever!!!
    I have a question to ask, I may ask this on behalf of all those Mothers, all those sisters, all those brothers, all Those fathers THAT WHERE IS THIS SYSTEM OF JUSTICE WHEN A KID OF LIYARI, KORANGI, ORANGI OR A RURAL PLACE OR OF ANY OTHER NON-POSH AREA IS KIDNAPPED, KILLED OR EVEN RAPED??

    where does this social Media goes when everyday a Mother loses a Shahzeb in the wee ours of the day?? She is no WEALTHY woman!!
    Actually for U people She is NO-BODY and thats why from the Police station to the Media No One, ever pays any heed to this Criminal Activity!!

    I am not saying that the decision is a Wrong one or trying to devalue its importance, but in my Eyes Justice MUST be Equal for everyone, same protection must be given to the witnesses of all other as was given in this case together with media attention!! this Biased System must change!!

    Only then Justice would SEEN to be done!!Recommend

  • Nauman

    @Saira K.

    I tend to agree with you here. The death penalty will not bring back Shahzeb or bring consolation to the family but the court’s decision was neccessary to set a precedent so senseless acts of violence such as this one do not happen again. This is a lesson that can only be taught with blood. Recommend

  • hidayat

    Justice is not complete yet. The criminals who are still drunk due to smell of money were seen celebrating after the verdict. They are influential as once they were able to escape from the country with the help of powerful sources present in Bilawal House. Then due to tremendous pressure of civil society and eventually Supreme Court of Pakistan they got arrested from Dubai.

    Justice will be complete when people of Pakistan see them hanged.Recommend

  • http://... nimra

    @M.Kamran: inshaAllah!!Recommend

  • Umer

    You’ve simply laid out what I and most of us had in our hearts & minds. No parents should have to bury their children but society must also taught that no one is above the law.

    Although a step forward in the right direction, this is just a judgement. Justice will be served when these criminals receive their punishment and not just locked away in the prison like other death sentences.Recommend

  • Sane

    Justice shall be served when killers of Shahzeb shall be hanged in public in soonest possible time. Now, I suspect money and power both shall start their roles with more vigor. The parents, lawyers, judiciary and civil society have to sustain that pressure to bring this to a conclusion. HANG THE MURDERERS HIGH.Recommend

  • Sane

    After the court’s judgement, the murderers were not ashamed or sorrowful. They are worst than beast.

    Now, we have to see about the murder case of HAMZA. Civil Society! ….. do not forget.Recommend

  • Hassan

    I was suprised as many here when i saw footage of this criminal alighting from a prison van without handcuffs, A bottle of mineral water in hand, dressed very well, and as someone has stated coming outside and flashin “V” signs to show victory. Shows that money and influence dosen’t breed class or good morals, Perhaps showing some humility and realising he was there beacuse he took someones life would have been a good start.The way he was celerbrating almost gave off the sense that he knows something that we don’t know, Like the fact that within a few years he will be a free man. Nothing changes in Pakistan one rule for the rich one for the less well off, I have always seen poorer prisoners in chains and fearful state, and wheter they are remorsful or not always at least offer words to that affect. This guy was acting like an actor. Bring on the noose, And wipe that silly smirk of his and he’s accomplices faces.Recommend

  • quratulain

    such feudal culprits should be hanged till death ……… Recommend

  • Saadiya

    @Saira K.: May I point out that the punishment for taking a life , is giving yours up IN ISLAM
    And is yet to be proven wrong . Cut the hand of thieves , and see what the robbery rate is in KSA

    We all have to up hold the law

    Your statement is valid that it will offer no solace to the affected family . But this will act as a deterrent and make people , look at their actions carefully

    The family aided and abetted the shooter to abscond from the country , they should be punished for obstructing the lawRecommend

  • Pakistani

    It was utterly bewildering to watch Shahrukh Jatoi behave after the verdict was read out..!!
    What was the grinning & V signs all about !!!
    Seriously…..this is one criminal who has not realised the gravity of the crime he committed !!!
    Do not for one moment forget…..THIS MAY NOT THE FIRST TIME HE HAS COMMITED A MURDER
    Unfortunately he is the epitome of THE FEUDAL MINDSET..Thats where the grinning & the V signs are coming from
    “Behave as if you give two hoots to the verdict”

    Pray that for some sense of sanity to prevail in our society the sentence is carried to its logical end. Justice delayed is justice denied !!Recommend

  • Nabeel

    Justice for Elite against the Elite by the Elite !!! Hope the Justice prevail for common manRecommend

  • Ali

    @the writer of the blog:

    Please go through the anti terrorism laws of the country and please see if this offence was in fact triable in an anti-terrorism court..

    the fundamental right of the alleged offender in the instant case i.e right to a fair trial has been curtailed big time.

    This particular precedent can jeopardize the whole concept justice of the country.

    justice must be served…but it must be SERVED RIGHTRecommend