In letter to CJP, Arshad Sharif's mother requests formation of judicial commission to probe son's killing

Published November 2, 2022
A picture of deceased journalist Arshad Sharif. — Photo via Facebook/File
A picture of deceased journalist Arshad Sharif. — Photo via Facebook/File

The mother of slain journalist Arshad Sharif, in a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial written on Wednesday, requested the formation of a high-powered judicial commission to investigate her son's murder.

Sharif was shot dead in Kenya allegedly by the local police on the night of October 23, with an official police statement later expressing “regrets on the unfortunate incident” and saying an investigation was underway.

Initially, the Kenyan media quoted the local police as saying Sharif was shot dead by police in a case of “mistaken identity”.

However, reports from the Kenyan media later reconstructed the events surrounding the killing, stating that an occupant in Sharif’s car at the time of his killing was believed to have shot at paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) officers.

The government subsequently formed a team to probe the killing. Initially, a three-member body, comprising Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director Athar Wahid, Intelligence Bureau Deputy Director General Omar Shahid Hamid and Lt Col Saad Ahmed of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was formed. Later, the team’s size was cut from three to two with the exclusion of the ISI official.

On Monday, the federal cabinet, on the request of the Ministry of Defence, also approved the constitution of a three-member commission — led by Justice Abdul Shakoor Paracha and comprising Additional Inspector General of Police Usman Anwar and Hamid — to "inquire into the facts" of the death.

However, the letter — available with Dawn.com — from Sharif's mother Riffat Ara Alvi, alleged that "the real reasons of the case are being concealed" and must be brought to light.

She argued that this was evident for three reasons:

  • The Kenyan police changing its stance on the death "three to four times".
  • Federal ministers airing "different fabricated stories" regarding the death even before the investigation team went to Kenya.
  • Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif initially announcing that the Islamabad High Court would be requested to appoint a high-power judicial commission only to then form a commission comprising a retired judge and two government officials, thus indicating the government's "malafide intentions".

She also alleged that the government had "pressured and compelled" the UAE government to expel Sharif.

Alvi requested the CJP to protect the murder case from becoming controversial, to provide justice to the deceased and to appoint a high-powered judicial commission "so that the feeling of insecurity amongst the family members ... along with the journalist community is taken care of".

She said that the judicial commission should comprise senior Supreme Court judges to "determine the real motive and identify criminals behind this heinous crime".

"Only knowing the real motive and criminals and bringing them to justice would end the agony of martyr Arshad Sharif's family and his journalist fraternity," the letter to the chief justice stated.

Alvi said this would be her "first and last" letter requesting justice and hoped that it would receive due attention because of the "gravity of the case".

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