Slain journalist Arshad Sharif’s widow Javeria Siddique on Thursday expressed lack of confidence in the JIT formed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which is investigating Sharif’s murder case.
Siddique said the JIT members included by the Supreme Court were officials working under the suspect authorities, adding that retired officers like Allah Dino Khwaja and retired Gen Tariq Khan should be made part of the special JIT. The Supreme Court, however, set aside the reservations and said that only civil servants would be part of the JIT.
Earlier, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial said that the reasons and circumstances surrounding the decision of slain journalist Arshad Sharif to leave the country should be investigated. A five-member bench, headed by CJP Bandial, heard the suo motu case regarding the killing of the Pakistani journalist in Kenya last year. Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman also participated in the hearing.
During the hearing, the chief justice sought progress report on investigation by the joint investigation team (JIT) into Sharif’s murder. The Additional Attorney General submitted the progress report, stating that the JIT had recorded the statements of 41 persons so far. He said the investigation was divided into three phases with the first part related to the investigation in Pakistan and the case will be investigated in the UAE and Kenya in the remaining phases.
When Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked whether the first part of the investigation had been completed, the Additional Attorney General said that phase one was almost complete. In response to another question, he said it was difficult to give a time frame for completing the probe. He said the JIT would leave for Kenya after January 15 after completing its investigation in Dubai.
Responding to another question about whether the UN would be included in the investigation, the government attorney said it could become part of it if necessary.
Justice Mazahar Naqvi said that the JIT had been given a free hand, adding that the investigation should be transparent as the Supreme Court was serious about this matter.
The CJP noted that the government had delayed the procedure of writing a letter of mutual legal assistance to the foreign country. “It is not just the killing of Arshad Sharif but a human rights issue,” he commented. The chief justice noted that the digital equipment owned by Sharif was yet to be recovered.
Justice Minister Ijaz asked the JIT to get assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make the UN part of the investigation.
The Supreme Court postponed the hearing in the case until the first week of February.
In October last year, the senior journalist was shot dead by Kenyan police in what they claimed was a “mistaken identity” case while he was returning to Nairobi from Kenya’s Magadi Town. Kenyan police claimed they opened fire after the vehicle breached a blockade.