Suo Motu notice Arshad Sharif killing: SC seeks report from JIT every two weeks

Arshad Sharif suo motu

Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan Thursday directed the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif to submit reports every two weeks.

On the direction of the Supreme Court, the government Thursday set up a new JIT and shared the names of investigators with the apex court. The development to constitute the new JIT came after SC Wednesday rejected the already constituted team and had and directed the government to form a new one.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial had said the JIT should include officials from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and the police.

Headed by Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Mandokhail, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar as its other members, a five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court heard the case today.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Aamir Rehman presented to the court the notification for the formation of the special JIT. The special team consisted of five members, namely Sajid Kiani (Intelligence Bureau), Waqar­uddin Syed (Federal Investigation Agency), Murtaza Afzal (Military Intelligence), Muhammad Aslam (Inter-Services Intelligence) and Awais Ahmed (Islamabad police) — all BPS-20 grade officers.

The AAG apprised the court that authorities would contact Interpol to arrest the suspects in the case if needed.

The apex court then directed the JIT to submit a progress report to the court every two weeks. In addition, the Islamabad SSP and his team were directed to cooperate with the investigating team.

Later, the hearing was adjourned for the first week of January.

The killing of Arshad Sharif

Arshad Sharif was shot dead in Nairobi, Kenya, in October, which the Kenyan police described as a case of “mistaken identity”.

Journalist Arshad Sharif shot dead in Kenya; confirms wife

Since the killing of Arshad Sharif, many in Pakistan, including Imran Khan-led PTI, had been urging the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the “target killing”. They claimed that Arshad was forced to leave Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates — where he had stayed for a short time before heading to Kenya. The Foreign Office has, however, dismissed these claims.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also announced that a judicial commission would be formed to probe the matter and subsequently wrote to the CJP about his request.

The slain journalist’s mother also wrote a letter to the CJP on November 2, requesting the formation of a high-powered judicial commission to investigate the murder.