Supreme Court (SC) asks Special Joint Investigation Team (SJIT) on Arshad’s murder to file interim report in first week of Jan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court asked the Special Joint Investigation Team (SJIT) to file the first interim report of the investigation, conducted by them, in the Court within first week of January 2023.
The five-member SJIT comprised Awais Ahmed DIG Police Headquarters, Islamabad, Muhammad Aslam from Inter-Services Intelligence, Murtaza Afzal from Military Intelligence, WaqarudDin Syed from Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and Sajjid Kiyani from the Intelligence Bureau, while the support will be provided by the SSP Investigation, Islamabad.
A five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, on Thursday, heard the suo moto of the brutal killing of journalist Arshad Sharif.
The court said if the SJIT experience any hardship in the pursuit of designated tasks then they may directly approach the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s office through a written application for ascertaining the causes in investigation be removed.
The court expected that from time to time the SJIT will provide the interim report of the investigation in the chambers for the perusal of bench members. The chief justice said the purpose of the suo moto was to have honest, transparent, and impartial investigation of the journalist.
He said suppose if the SJIT members want to go to Kenya and needed finance for that purpose and the administration is not releasing funds then they can approach the CJP’s Office. Additional Attorney General (AAG) Aamir Rehman said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ensure the fullest support and the legal avenues i.e. Legal Mutual Assistance. The foreign minister of Pakistan will talk to his counterpart in Kenya, while the High Commission of Pakistan in Kenya will engage with the Kenyan police and the highest authorities.
The AAG said the Interpol will be contacted to bring persons, nominated in the FIR, to Pakistan for investigation purposes. He said the Inspector General of Police, Islamabad, has ensure to approach Arshad Sharif’s mother for recording her statement.
Justice Naqvi questioned whether the government tried to approach three persons, nominated in the FIR. The AAG said they would be asked through Interpol to appear before the SJIT and cooperate in the investigation.
Justice Mazhar said no timeline has been mentioned in the CMA, which has been filed today before the Supreme Court. The AAG stated that the investigation will rest on the fullest cooperation of the Kenyan police, so a timeline cannot be given when the investigation would be completed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs report said it was committed to maintaining “friendly and cordial” relations with Kenya and the UAE and was, therefore, considering the following options: Sending a special envoy to Kenya to raise the matter with local authorities, arranging a phone call between the Kenyan and Pakistani foreign ministers, directing the Pakistani High Commissioner in Nairobi to maintain efforts with senior Kenyan officials to expedite the matter, regularly engaging the Kenyan High Commissioner in Islamabad.
The ministry further said that it was of the view that Pakistani authorities may also explore legal avenues for gathering evidence and completing the investigation process in Kenya and the UAE. “It is further submitted that due to the efforts of the MoFA and Pakistan Mission in Dubai, UAE, the latter sent a request for legal assistance from the concerned authorities in Pakistan. In this regard, the said request has already been dispatched to the Ministry of Interior to prepare and send a request for legal assistance,” the reply said.
The ministry said it was committed to assisting the court and facilitating the special JIT constituted by the government in the case.
The case was adjourned until the first week of January 2023.
Source: Business Recorder
Other sources: The Express Tribune