Supreme Court adjourns Arshad Sharif murder case

The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing of the Arshad Sharif suo moto case till the first week of February.

A five-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar heard the suo moto case. Senior journalist and anchorperson Arshad Sharif was killed on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya on October 23, 2022.

During the course hearing, Chief Justice Bandial observed that the situation at the time of the departure of TV anchor Arshad Sharif abroad would have to be viewed.

He said the special joint investigation team (JIT) should visit Kenya after completing the groundwork. Whether the JIT had any information about the location of digital devices, whether the same were with Kenyan police, intelligence, or the two brothers. It was a test case for the team.

On the request of Arshad Sharif’s widow, the CJP observed that retired persons could not be included in the JIT. Let the JIT do its duty as many times subordinate officers too performed well, he added.

The CJP remarked that the JIT should have taken the measures 20 days ago and expressed the hope that the team would keep the things (pointed out by the court) in mind as there were many meaningful points in the report which could not be discussed openly.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Aamir Rehman said that the special JIT had recorded the statements of 41 persons under section 161. The investigation was to be held in three phases, including Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan. The JIT could not visit Nairobi before January 15 due to holidays in Kenya, he added.

The court was informed that the names of persons required for interrogation had been shared with the Kenyan authorities through a letter by the Foreign Office. The JIT had complete cooperation from the Foreign Office.

The AAG said that the first phase of the investigation had been completed, while the timeline for its full completion could not be given.

To a court’s query, he said the United Nations would be involved in the investigation if it were necessary.

Justice Sayyed Mazahar Naqvi asked why the Foreign Office had written the letter to Kenyan authorities just a day ago. The court was not interfering in the investigation process but it seriously wanted a fair probe.

Regarding the concerns of Arshad Sharif’s wife, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail observed that the JIT would investigate the incident from all aspects.

The government had already released funds to the JIT for investigation work while the letters (to the UAE and Kenyan authorities) had also been written on December 4 for mutual legal assistance, the court observed.

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