Slain journalist Arshad Sharif's wife expresses reservations over JIT

Court requests 'faith' in institutions as investigators set to visit Kenya on Jan 15

Hasnaat Malik January 05, 2023
Journalist Arshad Sharif. Photo: Facebook/ArshadSharif


Samia Arshad, the widow of senior journalist Arshad Sharif, on Thursday expressed her reservations against members of the joint investigation team (JIT) at the Supreme Court (SC).

Sharif, a strong supporter of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, was shot dead in Kenya’s Nairobi city on October 23 last year.

Read JIT formed to probe Arshad Sharif's murder, SC told

The death of the journalist had sent shock waves across rights organisations, the media fraternity and civil society and prompted calls for thorough investigation and disclosure of facts.

During an earlier hearing, the CJP had appreciated the report of the fact-finding committee, comprising two senior officers of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB), for unearthing important facts about the case.

Their report had read that the murder of Sharif was a “planned and targeted assassination” by transnational characters and not a case of mistaken identity, as claimed by the police in Kenya.

A five-member larger bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial conducted the hearing of suo motu case over the journalist's murder today.

Ahead of the hearing, Islamabad police had submitted the progress report of the JIT to the court, as well as to the judges’ chamber.

Read More Finding Arshad Sharif’s murderer

The affidavits of the deputy superintendent and deputy inspector general of the Islamabad police have also been submitted to them along with the report.

The JIT is led by Islamabad Police DIG Headquarters Awais Ahmed and has four other members — namely Muhammad Aslam from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Murtaza Afzal from the Military Intelligence (MI), FIA's Waqaruddin Syed, and Sajid Kayani of the IB.

Raising objections over the investigation team during court proceedings, Samia said that two of the JIT members were the subordinates of the accused in the case and maintained that she, therefore, did not trust them.

However, CJP Bandial urged her to "have faith as institutions work on trust".

She then went on to request the apex court to include terrorism and abetment (Section 109) charges in the case.

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"These charges can be added at any point," said Justice Sayyed Mazahar Naqvi.

Justice Naqvi alongside Justice Ijazul Ahsan also asked the JIT to approach the UN to aid in the investigation.

Earlier, Additional Attorney General (AAG) Chaudhary Aamir Rehman informed the court that the JIT had recorded statements from 41 witnesses in Pakistan while Kenyan authorities had suggested the team visit the country to record the statements of required officials after January 15.

The AAG said that the JIT would spend two weeks in Kenya for this purpose.

The government has also sent a mutual legal assistance (MLA) request to Kenyan authorities on January 4, he added.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan noted that there are three phases in this investigation.

Also Read Arshad Sharif's murder was an 'inside job'

"The first is to probe into the circumstances that forced [Sharif] to leave Pakistan, the second phase is related to [his stay in] Dubai, and the third phase is about the investigation in Kenya," he explained.

"While phase one regarding the recording of witness statements has concluded, there is nothing about [the other] two phases" he observed before the court adjourned the hearing until the first week of February.


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