Is law only for the poor, CJP remarks in Shahrukh Jatoi’s hospital transfer case

The Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry on Saturday heard the case of transfer of Shahrukh Jatoi, the prime accused in the murder of Shahzeb Khan, from prison to a hospital.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who took notice of Jatoi’s transfer to Jinnah Hospital from jail premises earlier this week, expressed annoyance at the accused’s shifting.
“Does the law only exist for the poor?” he remarked, observing that when the apex court took notice of Jatoi’s transfer, the accused was discharged from the hospital.
Shahrukh Jatoi complained of a heart ailment but it turned out to be piles, the Chief Justice remarked, as he demanded to know the whereabouts of the doctor who prepared the accused’s medical report.
Inspector General (IG) Prisons Nusrat Mangan read out Jatoi’s medical report to the apex court, and said Jatoi was transferred to the hospital on the recommendation of the jail’s administration.
The Chief Justice was further irked when he was told that Jatoi is being kept in Category C jail.
Why is a death sentence suspect being kept in Category C jail, Justice Nisar asked, and summoned a report from the jail administration on how many prisoners have been transferred to hospitals.
Jatoi had previously also served most of his incarceration at the JPMC citing medical issues.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had ordered the re-arrest of Jatoi, Siraj Talpur and other convicts in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, following which Jatoi and the others were taken into custody from the court premises.
The apex court had been moved by members of the civil society against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision ordering a re-trial and removal of terrorism charges from the conviction against the accused.
The apex court, instead of accepting the civil society appeal, had taken a sou motu action and nullified the SHC order.
On December 23, 2017, Jatoi, the son of an influential feudal, and other defendants in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, were released from custody on bail after Shahzeb’s father submitted an affidavit in support of the defendant’s bail application.
Shahzeb was gunned down by Jatoi in a posh locality of Karachi on December 25, 2012.
An ATC in 2013 had awarded death sentences to Jatoi and Siraj Talpur for the murder of Shahzeb, while life sentences were awarded to Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari.
The Supreme Court, hearing a case pertaining to the state of public hospitals in Sindh at its Karachi Registry, declared the performance of Jinnah Medical and Dental College “unsatisfactory” and issued notices to the representatives of the college.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar directed the concerned personnel to prepare a performa within three days.
The court also summoned files of Jinnah Hospital.
Chief Justice Nisar also paid a visit to Jinnah Hospital later in the day, where he reviewed the hospital infrastructure and instructed Director Dr Seemi Jamali to submit a list detailing hospital facilities to the court.
He also inquired after the health of the patients under treatment at the hospital.
Missing luggage at airports
Hearing a case on passengers’ luggage going missing at airports, the Chief Justice observed that the luggage of passengers arriving via international PIA flights goes missing.
He directed to form a regulatory body to improve the state of affairs at the airline, adding that Director General Human Rights should be made part of the body.