FIR of journalist’s killing registered on SC orders

Islamabad police nominate three key suspects among others in Arshad Sharif’s murder


Our Correspondent December 06, 2022
Senior journalist Arshad Sharif, who fled the country after he was charged with sedition, died in Kenya's Nairobi after reportedly being shot. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

ISLAMABAD:

 

The Islamabad police on Tuesday registered an FIR of journalist Arshad Sharif’s murder following the Supreme Court’s 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.

The FIR was filed under Sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The FIR was registered on behalf of a complaint filed by SHO Rashid Ahmed.
It stated that Arshad was killed in Nairobi, Kenya.

It added that his postmortem was conducted at Pakistan Institute Of Medical Sciences (Pims) Hospital on October 26.

According to the postmortem report, the deceased died of gunshot wounds, the FIR read.

It read that the medical board handed over four parcels of evidence to the police after the postmortem was carried out.

The FIR further stated that the full medical report was asked to be given later and the body of the slain journalist had been handed over to his heirs.

The inquiry into the murder was being conducted at a senior level, it added.
The document read that further action would be taken in the light of the postmortem report and analysis of the parcels.

Five parcels have been kept in the police’s malkhana.

Inspector Mian Shahbaz has been assigned to investigate the murder, the FIR stated.

Earlier in the day, the apex court ordered the interior secretary to register the FIR of the “brutal killing” of the journalist by Tuesday night.

The directives came after Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial took suo motu notice of the murder.

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

The SC directed the authorities concerned to submit a copy of the FIR to the court by Wednesday (today).

The court also sought the inquiry report of the committee formed by the government to probe the murder and adjourned the hearing till Wednesday.

Notices were issued to Foreign Affairs Secretary Asad Majeed, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Shahera Shahid, Federal Investigation Agency Director General Mohsin Butt, Intelligence Bureau director general, the interior secretary and president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Afzal Butt.

During the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked the interior secretary whether or not it was true that an FIR had not been registered in either Pakistan or Kenya.
The court was then informed that the government was waiting for the fact-finding committee’s report to register an FIR.

CJP Bandial observed that it had been a while since the fact-finding committee returned from Kenya and inquired why the report had not yet been received by the SC.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Chaudhary Amir Rehman explained to the court that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had been in Faisalabad during the weekend whereas the report was received on Friday evening.

He told the bench that the report would be submitted to the court after the minister read it.

The CJP asked him that did the interior minister wanted to alter the report, calling for Sanaullah to appear before the court “right now”.

“There is an ongoing debate on social media. Fingers are being pointed at so many,” the judge added.

However, the AAG said that the prime minister and law minister were also yet to see the report.

The CJP responded that everyone had the right to access the investigation report.

“The investigation is the government’s responsibility, not that of the court,” he noted.

The judge observed that a  journalist had been murdered and those who killed him should be brought to light.

The AAG’s assured the court that of the committee’s report would be submitted to the court on Wednesday.

However, the court ordered that it must be submitted to the SC on Tuesday so that the matter could be heard on Wednesday.

“We have been waiting for 43 days for the report,” CJP Bandial noted, adding that so far, only Arshad’s medical report had been provided to the SC.

The judge observed that the SC had even considered the medical report “unsatisfactory” and the court was “taking the issue very seriously”.

“A five-member bench has been constituted keeping in view the gravity of the situation,” the CJP remarked.

“Mistreatment of journalists will not be tolerated under any circumstances,” the judge noted.

He added that if journalists contributed to false reporting, then the government should “introduce laws to punish them”.

Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar inquired if an investigation was taking place in Kenya.

Admitting the “suspicious circumstances” under which the journalist was murdered, Justice Ahsan also inquired what action had the foreign ministry taken so far on the matter.

The foreign secretary informed the court that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had spoken to the Kenyan president and that the Pakistani high commissioner in that country was in touch with the relevant authorities. However, he added that the progress made in the investigation was not yet known.

Separately, PN Shehbaz welcomed the apex court’s decision to take suo motu notice of the journalist’s murder.

Assuring the SC of the government’s “full cooperation” in the matter, the premier stressed in a tweet that the court’s decision was in line with an earlier request he had made to it.

In a letter written to the top judge, the PM had asked the CJP to form a commission comprising all available judges of the apex court to ascertain the facts surrounding the mysterious murder of the journalist, who was shot dead in Kenya last month.

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