SC directs govt to form new JIT in Arshad Sharif killing case

SC directs CEC to submit report regarding holding of provincial assemblies elections

ISLAMABAD, Dec 07 (APP): The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Federal Government to form a new joint investigation team (JIT) comprising independent and senior officers to probe Arshad Sharif’s killing in Kenya.

A five-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar heard the suo moto notice case.

During the course of the proceedings, the report of the fact-finding committee regarding the investigation into the brutal murder of Arshad Sharif was submitted to the court.

The court rejected the special JIT already set up by the government to probe the senior journalist’s murder. The chief justice ordered the government to issue the notification of a new JIT comprising representatives of the police, Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, and Federal Investigation Agency.

The CJP observed that the court wanted the investigation to be conducted by senior and independent officers. The JIT members should be experts in understanding the case and bringing evidence from other countries, and if necessary, support from international organizations including the United Nations should be provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he added.

He ordered that all the information should be shared with the family of Arshad Sharif.

The chief justice said the court wanted to ensure that competent and qualified officers do their work according to the law.

A journalist told the court that the police did not behave properly with Arshad Sharif’s family. On this, the chief justice said that the court would look into the matter after hearing the stance of Arshad Sharif’s mother.

The Additional Attorney General said the investigation team received information from the Kenyan authorities. A meeting was held with the three Kenyan police officers who had fired bullets while the fourth official was injured, he added.

The team was trying to meet the minister concerned and cabinet secretary in Kenya, he said.

The chief justice said the main evidence about the murder was in Kenya and that was why the matter should be taken up with the Kenyan authorities. The fact finding committee had done a commendable job, he added.

The Additional Attorney General said the police had formed a JIT.

Justice Mazahar Naqvi said even the names of the (Kenyan police) officers, who had fired (at Arshad Sharif) were not written in the report. He asked why a case was not registered against the officers who had opened fire.

Justice Jamal questioned on which basis three persons had been named in the case as accused.

The Additional Attorney General said it would be examined whether a case could be registered against the foreigners or not and the inquiry report would be a part of the record.

Justice Mazahar Naqvi remarked that it was a very serious matter and the government should also take it seriously.

The chief justice said Arshad Sharif’s mother was the mother of two martyrs and her stance would be heard carefully.

Arshad Sharif’s mother told the court that it was all narrated in the report as to how Arshad Sharif was forced to flee abroad and then expelled from Dubai. “I just want justice for my son,” she added.

Justice Mazahar Naqvi said she had to record the statement to the investigation team. On this, Arshad Sharif’s mother said her statement had already been recorded by the team.

The chief justice said the first information report (FIR) of the case, which was registered a day earlier, was brief as no investigation had taken place. There were also no eyewitnesses.

He directed the government to notify the new JIT and inform it about its members by tomorrow. The probe should be conducted by senior officers, he added.

Subsequently, the case was adjourned till Thursday.