Pakistan: SC directs to form another JIT in (Journalist) Arshad Sharif murder case


The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the federal government to constitute a new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising independent and senior officers to probe the Arshad Sharif’s murder case.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday had taken suo motu notice of the journalist’s murder.

Headed by CJP Bandial, a five-member bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Mandokhail, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, heard the case.

“It is brutal killing and this is a very sensitive matter,” CJP observed in court today, however, he said the primary evidence of this case is in Kenya.

After issuing orders for the formation of a JIT, the court asked Riffat to record her statement with the investigation team.

Additional Attorney General Chaudhary Amir Rehman informed the bench that the government had already decided to form JIT in this matter.

The five-member larger bench also asked Foreign Office to engage friendly countries as well as international agencies including the UN for the investigation of the case in Kenya.

The court is to resume hearing the matter tomorrow.

The SC had directed the authorities concerned to submit a copy of the FIR to the court by Tuesday. The court had also sought the inquiry report of the committee formed by the government to probe the murder and adjourned the hearing till Wednesday.

A government-formed fact-finding committee submitted an interim report to the cell while the SC awaits the final report of the committee.

During the hearing yesterday, the CJP expressed his anger at the federal government for not sharing the committee’s final report.

Furthermore, the Islamabad police on Tuesday registered an FIR of journalist Arshad Sharif’s murder following SC orders.

Three main suspects –Waqar Ahmed, Khurram Ahmed, and Tariq Ahmed Wasi – as well as others have been nominated in the case registered at the Ramna police station of the federal capital.

According to the interim report submitted to the court, the statement provided by Khurram Ahmed (one of the primary accused) does not appear to be “true” based on the “circumstances”, adding that the senior journalist was possibly shot at from close range and not in a moving car.

“Arshad Sharif was shot at from close range and possibly in a stationary vehicle,” the report stated adding that there were “discrepancies” between Khurram Ahmed and the Kenyan police’s statements.

The report also stated that the fact-finding commission was “unable” to interview one of the shooters as Kenyan authorities did not authorise it. The report also admitted that it cannot be confirmed whether or not the fourth shooter was a police official.

CJ Bandial appreciated the fact-finding mission’s efforts to unearth the facts on the case.

During the proceedings on Tuesday, Arshad Sharif’s mother, Riffat Ara Alvi, was also present and a journalist complained that the “police did not behave appropriately with Arshad Sharif’s family”.

Upon this, CJ Bandial admitted that the SC lift did not have wheelchair access, and arrangements were being made for that. “We will see to the police matter also,” the CJ added vowing to hear the deceased journalist’s mother.

It may be noted here that earlier in November, Riffat Alvi had penned a letter to the CJP requesting him to form a high-level judicial commission to probe into her son’s death.

Riffat had urged CJ Bandial to “protect the case from controversy and political hypocrisy and provide justice to the family”