SC directs govt to file FIR by midnight in Arshad Sharif murder case.
The Supreme court SC decision of FIR was made during a hearing presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and attended by a five-member bench. Justices Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Muhammad Ali Mazhar were on the bench in addition to the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Senior officials including the interior secretary, additional attorney general (AAG) Aamir Rehman, and others appeared before the court.
SC is perplexed by the fact-finding committee report’s delay
The CJP questioned why the report of a fact-finding committee established following the journalist’s death has not yet been produced during the hearing.
According to the CJP, the interior ministry was supposed to submit the report last Friday but failed to do so. “Is it necessary to call the interior minister? The interior minister isn’t present.” the CJP enquired.
The AAG then informed the court that he would present the fact-finding committee’s report no later than tomorrow.
The CJP expressed his displeasure with the AAG’s assurance and claimed that the government, not the SC, should be wasting time on investigation-related issues.
“Journalist Arshad Sharif was well-known; why was he assassinated, and why abroad? Pakistan has extensive resources to do international business and access to other nations, the CJP said.
He reminded the AAG that it had been some time since the fact-finding committee had arrived back in Pakistan from Kenya and questioned the delay in the release of the report. “Why has the SC still not received the government commission’s final report? “What’s going on?” he enquired.
Despite being written by experienced doctors, the top judge stated that the medical report that was provided is equally inadequate. “Every human life must be respected. Because journalists in Pakistan are the voice of truth, any form of mistreatment of journalists is intolerable.
The Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was in Faisalabad when the report was received, the AAG claimed in response to a question from the court. He noted that because it might contain some “sensitive” information, the interior minister will evaluate it before giving it to the top court.
The CJP then asked if the interior minister needed to make any changes to the report. The CJP further questioned the lack of a criminal investigation into Arshad Sharif’s slaying in Pakistan.
‘How can there be an investigation without registering case?’
The interior secretary responded by saying that after studying the fact-finding committee’s findings, a decision on whether to pursue a case would be taken.
If this is the proper procedure for filing a case, Justice Naqvi questioned. Justice Ahsan further questioned how an investigation could be carried out without a case being filed.
The CJP then stated that the seriousness of the matter was why a five-member bench had been established.
He commanded that the fact-finding committee’s report be submitted today in order for it to be heard tomorrow, stating that since they had been waiting for the report for 43 days, the situation needed to be taken seriously.
The hearing was then postponed till December7 after the judge directed that the FIR for Arshad Sharif’s murder be submitted by tonight.
PM Shehbaz assures full cooperation
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appreciated the top court’s suo motu notice of the murder after the hearing.
“I had already requested in a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan that a judicial commission be established to look into the murder. The government will cooperate fully with the Court “The premier tweeted.
I welcome Supreme Court taking suo motu notice of the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif. I had already written a letter to Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan for setting up a Judicial Commission to probe the murder. The government will extend full cooperation to the Court.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) December 6, 2022
PM Shehbaz spoke at an event in Islamabad about journalist safety a few hours before the Supreme Court hearing.
According to the premier, no journalist should be called out or attacked for exercising their right to free expression, as guaranteed by Pakistan’s constitution.
He called the assassination of prominent journalist Arshad Sharif an “extremely sad incident,” and said he immediately spoke with Kenya’s government and later wrote a letter to the CJP requesting the formation of a judicial commission.
The CJP takes note of Arshad’s “brutal killing” on its own initiative.
Earlier today, the CJP took action on the “brutal” murder of a journalist in Kenya.
According to the Supreme Court, the CJP has issued notices to the interior secretary, foreign secretary, information secretary, director generals of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Intelligence Bureau, and the president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan demanded a judicial inquiry into Sharif’s death in a letter to the CJP last week. In October, the journalist was assassinated in Kenya.
PM Shehbaz Sharif had also written to the CJP requesting the formation of a judicial commission to investigate Sharif’s death, and the slain journalist’s mother had also made a request.
The Supreme Court stated in a statement announcing the suo motu action that “the journalist community in the country and the public at large are deeply distressed and concerned about the death of the senior journalist and are asking the court to look into it.”
PTI welcomes suo motu notice
Fawad Chaudhry, the leader of the PTI, applauded the suo motu notice and stated that the public expects courts to defend human rights and uphold the supremacy of the Constitution in the face of pressure.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the leader of the Awami Muslim League (AML), also hailed the development and praised the SC notice. He predicted that the case would reveal a number of “hidden faces.”
“The nation is also looking to the Supreme Court in relation to the attack on Imran Khan and the Azam Swati case,”
On the evening of October 23, when the journalist Arshad Sharif was being taken to Nairobi, Kenyan General Service Unit (GSU) personnel shot and killed him. The journalist was allegedly shot in a case of mistaken identity, according to the Kenyan police at first.
The government assembled a two-person team, including representatives from the FIA and IB, to investigate the murder. The group had travelled to Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.
Following the return of the investigative team from Kenya, the FIA informed a Senate committee last month that it is drafting a report.