On December 25, 2012, in a defence colony of Karachi, a 20-year-old young man, Shahzeb Khan was gunned down by a teenager belonging to a local wealthy family. On December 23, 2017, Shahrukh Jatoi, the murderer, was released on bail, thereby making the five-year legal struggle of the bereaved family worthless.

The court ordered the defendants to submit a surety bond of Rs. 0.5 Million ($4000) prior to their release, which according to sources was quite affordable for Jatoi’s father, a well-known and influential feudal of Karachi.

The court pardons the murderer

Now, Jatoi freely walks the streets of Karachi showing no fear or remorse, due to a sense of security provided by the corrupt feudalists in the area.

According to sources, the late Shahzeb Khan’s father submitted an affidavit supporting Jatoi’s bail application.

The fear of the bereaved family

In 2013, the victim’s family appeared on a private news channel and pardoned the killer saying it was best for their own peace of mind and security. “We may not have forgiven them in our hearts, but we have pardoned our son’s killers in the name of Allah. We cannot spend our entire lives in fear … we took the decision considering the circumstances,” said Ambreen Aurangzaib, the victim’s mother.

Recently, an MPA (Minister of Provincial Assembly) in Quetta, Majeed Khan Achakzai, ran over a police warden and was set free by the court, despite the evidence provided by the CCTV camera footage of that day. What a victory!

Financial compensation to resolve murder

Diyat, or financial compensation to resolve Murder conflicts in Islam, was introduced in 1990, and it replaced the laws of murder and bodily harm, originally set by the British.

This law has been considered quite controversial by various scholars, as it is being misused by the wealthy.

Pakistan, amidst terrorism and sectarian violence, has lately had a plethora of criminal activity, including murder. In rural areas, many murder cases are not reported to the local police because the victims fear a backlash from their perpetrators.

Feudalistic mindset of the wealthy

Pakistani feudalism most commonly refers to the power and influence of families that own large amounts of land in remote areas. Such families are very active in the country's politics and are becoming increasingly influential to the rural population. Therefore, any criminal offences committed by them are generally pardoned by the law.

The murder of Shahzaib Khan is a special case because it was actually reported on national television. There are still plenty of cases involving murder that have yet to be discovered, as they have failed to grab the attention of the local media.