ISLAMABAD: Police have furnished a 13-page interim report before the Supreme Court about investigations into journalist Arshad Sharif’s murder for the perusal of judges in chambers only, as a five-member bench of the top court resumes suo motu hearing of the matter on Thursday.

Filed by legal wing of the capital police on behalf of DIG headquarters, the report mentioned that the Special Joint Investigation Com­­mittee (SJIT) would leave for Kenya on Jan 15 to bring a legible copy of the report of a post-mortem examination conducted there.

The apex court at the Dec 8, 2022 hearing had expressed the hope that the SJIT would furnish an interim report about its investigation preferably within a fortnight for perusal of the judges in chambers. The court had also expressed its willingness to facilitate ‘honest and transparent’ investigations into the murder.

Senior journalist and anchorperson Arshad Sharif was murdered on the outskirts of Nairobi on October 23, 2022.

Police file interim report on investigation into Arshad Sharif’s murder

Apart from the interim report, a copy of the first information report (FIR No. 987 of 2022), replies of the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora of the Republic of Kenya, and enquiry report of the killing from Kenya have been furnished before the apex court.

The SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and also comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, had already issued notices to the heads of FIA and Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ), as well as foreign affairs, interior, and information secretaries for Thursday when it would resume the suo motu proceedings.

Earlier, the court had directed the SJIT constituted by the interior ministry to approach the chief justice office directly if they experienced any hardship in the pursuit of the assigned task. The SJIT comprised Mohammad Aslam from the Inter-Services Intelligence, Murtaza Afzal from Military Intelligence, FIA Cyber Crime Di­­rector Waqar-ud-Din Syed and Intelli­gence Bureau Director General Sajid Kiyani.

The interior ministry had constituted the SJIT to ensure effective foreign liaison and collection of evidence in multiple national and international jurisdictions. The office of DIG headquarters was supposed to act as the secretariat for SJIT meetings, which according to additional attorney general would commence soon.

Earlier, a 592-page fact-finding report furnished before the court concluded that the murder was a “planned targeted assassination” that purportedly involved “transnational characters”. The investigators also contested the version put forth by the Kenyan police that Mr Sharif’s killing was the “case of mistaken identity”.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2023

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