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Arshad Sharif case: Slain journalist’s mother asks SC to include PTI chief, others in probe

Arshad Sharif case: Slain journalist’s mother asks SC to include PTI chief, others in probe

Slain journalist Arshad Sharif’s mother has requested the Supreme Court to direct the special Joint Investigation Team (JIT) — probing her son’s killing in October last year — to include PTI Chairman Imran Khan and four other people in the investigation, it emerged on Thursday.

In an application, his mother named a total of five persons who “have been found claiming about the persons who are involved in the conspiracy and the execution of the murder”, and asserted they “need to be joined in the investigation to collect evidence against the real perpetrators”.

She has named Imran; PTI leaders Faisal Vawda and Murad Saeed; PTI-leaning journalist Imran Riaz Khan whose whereabouts are currently unknown; and ARY Chief Executive Officer Salman Iqbal as those who needed to join the probe.

The application also highlighted that the mother was not given access to the fact-finding inquiry report as well as the reports submitted by the JIT, keeping her “in dark about the persons joined in the investigation”.

“In order to conclude the fair investigation, it is incumbent upon the JIT to examine these persons along with other (sic) making claims to this effect,” it said.

In a separate application dated June 6, her counsel Advocate Raja Abdul Ghafoor also requested the Supreme Court that a copy of the fact-finding report be provided to him or that his fellow counsel, Advocate Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, be provided access to peruse it with permission to take notes.

The said application noted that the same request was made during the last hearing but no order to this effect was passed due to the attorney-general’s “unwillingness”.

It emphasised, “Any material furnished before this august court cannot be kept secret if some negligent act has been performed by the investigation agency.

“That non-supply of these reports is like putting [salt] on the wound of applicant,” it added.

In December last year, a two-member fact-finding team consisting of officers from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had concluded that Sharif’s murder was a “planned targeted assassination” which purportedly involved “transnational characters”.

In a January hearing, the apex court had asked investigators to discuss with the foreign ministry the possibility of involving the United Nations in the murder probe.

It had also said that the court would not interfere in the investigation. “The court is giving freedom to the JIT for probe and the matter should be investigated transparently as the court is very serious about transparent investigations,” the bench had said.

In February, the top court was informed that Kenyan authorities were not granting “full access” to the investigation team — that had flown to Kenya and the United Arab Emirates to conduct the probe — while the UAE officials had also not allowed the team to conduct an investigation there.

At this, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi warned the additional attorney general to not “play with the court”. “This was the first stage [of investigation] which could not be completed,” the judge said. “Did the JIT go to have fun in Kenya and UAE?”

On March 8, the special JIT had furnished a progress report before the Supreme Court, which observed that the “transnational roles of characters in Kenya, Dubai, and Pakistan” in this assassination cannot be ruled out.

In another March hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial had observed that the critical question was why the journalist left the country and there should be clarity on what transpired before this development.

Last month, the apex court had also expressed displeasure over the release of the fact-finding committee’s initial report to the media.

Sharif had left Pakistan in August last year after a number of cases were registered against him. It was reported that he was initially staying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after which he went to Kenya, where he was shot dead.

Initially, Kenyan media had quoted the local police as saying Sharif was shot dead by police in a case of “mistaken identity”.

But later reports from the Kenyan media reconstructed the events surrounding the killing, stating that an occupant in Sharif’s car at the time of his killing was believed to have shot at paramilitary General Service Unit officers.

The Pakistan government subsequently formed a team that travelled to Kenya to investigate the killing.

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