ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Wednesday summoned the Attorney General for Pakistan to appear before the court in Shahzeb Khan murder case.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Maqbool Baqar heard the case filed by civil society members against the Sindh High Court (HSC) order wherein all anti-terrorism charges against accused in Shahzeb Khan murder case were set aside.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar inquired how members of the civil society could challenge the acquittal of Shahrukh Jatoi and others by the SHC if the parents and state had already reached a conclusion.

He asked prosecution counsel Faisal Siddiqui to convince the point of locus standi. “If the parents and state have agreed to comprise into the matter, how can the civil society and non-governmental organisation approach the SC,” the CJP asked. Siddiqui argued there was a collusion of state and accused party in the murder case as he informed the court that four prosecutors in the case had been replaced so far.

Explaining the locus standi, he said the eight out of ten petitioners were residents of the area where Shahzeb was killed. The chief justice remarked whether the SC could exercise jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. Justice Khosa observed the clause could be exploited if the SC allows this appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution. Likewise it may open door to approach the SC in future, he added.

The chief justice remarked that court had received 421 applications concerning the same case, the bench would not be able to entertain all applicants individually.

Justice Khosa observed that there were two issues the court needed to explore; What constituted terrorism and whether the applicability of terrorism charges in that case had already been settled by the high court.

He asked if the SC had jurisdiction over a matter that had already been decided by the high court. "How can we review a matter that has already been settled by the SHC," Justice Khosa said, observing that the high court had already deemed Shahzeb's murder not an act of terrorism.

Arguing the case, Siddiqui said the petition was maintainable under Article 4 of the Constitution, which stated that the right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law.

According to him, under the said article, the SC had the power to take up any petition in which an individual was involved. The bench would resume hearing on Thursday. It is to mention that the SHC has in November 2017 set aside punishments awarded to the accused by an anti-terrorism court while ordering a retrial of the case in a sessions court. The order was passed after considering a review petition filed by one of the defendants' lawyers.  Following the SHC's decision, the civil society has submitted an application in the SC.