ISLAMABAD : The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the federal government to form a new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the murder of senior journalist Arshad Sharif.
A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Mandokhail, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar heard a suo motu notice taken by the apex court regarding Mr Sharif’s murder.
Arshad Sharif s mother, Riffat Ara Alvi, Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman and others also appeared in the top court to attend the hearing.
During the hearing, a journalist told the bench that police misbehaved with the family of Arshad Sharif. To which, the CJP replied he would look into the matter. The chief justice also asked the mother of the slain journalist to record her statement when the new JIT is formed.
The top judge remarked the brutal killing of Mr Sharif is a sensitive matter, however, he said that the key evidence in the case is in Kenya.
Additional Attorney General Chaudhary Amir Rehman informed the apex court that the government had already take a decision to constitute a JIT to probe the matter. He said the government had approved the names of officers of ISI, IB and FIA for the JIT.
The bench also asked the foreign office to contact friendly countries as well as international agencies including the UN to probe the case.
The mother of Arshad Sharif broke down while talking about the murder of her son. She, however, thanked the court for taking action. To which, the chief justice replied: “It is the duty of court”.
She said the investigation report contained details how her son was forced to leave Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.
The chief justice directed the government to submit the names of the members of the new JIT in next hearing scheduled for tomorrow (Dec 8).
Fact-Finding Committee Report
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Interior submitted the report of the fact-finding committee to the apex court.
The murder of Arshad Sharif was well-planned and it was not a case of mistaken identity as claimed by the Kenyan police, revealed the report.
A two-member team, comprising Director FIA Headquarters Athar Waheed and Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau (IB) Omar Shahid Hamid, has prepared the report that carries details of investigation made in the United Arab Emirates and Kenya.
Mr Sharif was murdered near the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Oct 23 by the personnel of the Kenya police in what the claimed a case of mistaken idenity. Following their unsatisfactory claims, the Pakistani government formed a committee to probe his murder.
In the report, the committee members stated that the slain TV anchorperson was forced to leave Pakistan after threats associated with the cases registered against over his alleged involvement in propaganda against institutions. The report also pointed out some violations in registration of cases against the senior journalist.
The investigators also found that Mr Sharif was made to leave the United Arab Emirates (UAE), adding that the authorities of the Gulf country had visited him and ordered him to leave the country. He was then given an ultimatum of 48 hours to move from Dubai while having no visa for any other country. He again applied for a UAE visit visa which was rejected shortly.
The probe team also found discrepancies in postmortems performed of doctors in Kenya and Pakistan. It also revealed that Kenyan police refused to produce one of the four officers who had opened fire on Mr Sharif.
The report also carries details of interrogation from Mr Khurram and Mr Waqar, Arshad’s friends, who had hosted in the East African country. Suspecting involvement of foreign hands, it divulged that Mr Waqar was in contact with international agencies and Kenya’s spy agency.
It also rejected that Mr Sharif was subjected to torture before being killed, stating no evidence of torture was found during the investigation.
FIR Lodged Against Arshad Sharif Murder
On Tuesday, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umer Ata Bandial ordered the government to registered a case against the killing of Mr Sharif, more than a month after he was assassinated in Kenya.
The FIR has been lodged with Ramna police station in the capital on the complaint of the SHO. Three people including Waqar Ahmed s/o Afzal Ahmed, Khurram Ahmed s/o Afzal Ahmed and Tariq Ahmed Wasi s/o Muhammad Wasi have been nominated in the FIR.
According to the FIR, Sharif mortal remains were transported to Pakistan from Kenya and a medical board conducted postmortem. The FIR also stated that four samples were sent to the labortories by the board and it autopsy report stated that the senior journalist died of gunshot wounds and was killed in Kenya.
On the other hand, the federal capital police decided to constitute a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising of DIG Headquarters, SP Sadr and Station House Officer (SHO) of the concerned police station. Sources further said that officials of the secret agencies have also been included in the JIT.