ISLAMABAD : – The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) created to investigate the murder of veteran journalist Arshad Sharif informed the Supreme Court of Pakistan that no credible evidence was discovered during its travel to Kenya and noted a lack of cooperation from East African authorities.
The notice was heard by a five-member bench led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, and consisting of Justice Ijazul Ehsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar.
In October of last year, while returning to Nairobi from Kenya’s Magadi Town, the veteran journalist was fatally shot by Kenyan police in what they said was a “case of mistaken identification.” The Kenyan police said that they fired at the car after it broke a roadblock. Following the murder, the highest court took initiative and ordered an investigation into the crime.
During today’s session, JIT chairman Awais Ahmed presented the second investigation update on the veteran journalist’s murder. When Justice Naqvi enquired whether the JIF discovered anything in the case during its journey to Kenya, the JIF responded in the affirmative.
Mr. Ahmed said that the team discovered no strong evidence in Kenya and that the Kenyan government denied the JIT access to the case’s material. In response, Justice Naqbi said that evidence would be discussed at the trial, stating that the court needed to hear what evidence had been gathered in Kenya.
In response to an inquiry from Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the head of the JTI said that Mr. Sharif’s mobile phone and iPad were in the hands of the Kenay’s IT department and that additional items had been received.
The extra attorney general, who also attended the session, said that others who had filed complaints against Mr. Sharif will also be questioned, adding that it was too early to identify a suspect.
In response, Justice Naqvi chastised the extra attorney general, stating that what he had held was just the beginning of the probe, which remained unfinished. “Don’t play games with the court,” the judge admonished the government attorney.
At one time, CJP Bandial said that the inquiry in Pakistan was riddled with errors. He was also displeased with the disclosure of the case’s investigation report. “Identify the source of the leak of the unsubstantiated news,” he said.
When Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar inquired as to whether the testimonies of Khurram and Waqar, the two Pakistanis who entertained Arshad Sharif in Kenya, had been recorded, the extra attorney general said that the Kenyan authorities had simply organised a meeting with the director public prosecutor. However, the JIT members were not permitted to visit the murder site, despite Kenyan authorities’ assurances of complete cooperation. Additionally, diplomatic pressure is being applied on Kenya, he added.
When Justice Ahsan suggested that the United Nations platform should be used to press Kenya for participation in the inquiry, the extra attorney general said that Kenya was a friendly state and that “we don’t want to do anything to harm the bilateral ties.”
CJP Bandial said that Kenya is an autonomous nation and that polite communication with international nations is required.
Later, the supreme court adjourned the case for a month and requested an update from the JIT within two weeks.