ISLAMABAD: Following the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, police in Islamabad on Tuesday registered a case in the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya in October, nominating three people as key suspects in the crime.
Under Pakistani law, the police are required to respond to any complaint about a potential crime by registering a case, or a “first information report.” That report marks the beginning of an investigation.
The police complaint nominated three persons, Waqar Ahmed, Khurram Ahmed, and Tariq Ahmed Wasi. It cites sections 302 (murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
The FIR added that according to the postmortem report, Sharif died due to the firing of ammunition.
“Arshad Sharif has been killed abroad in Nairobi [Kenya]. The involvement of Khurram Ahmed, CNIC number 42301-9410336-5, Waqar Ahmed CNIC number 42301-3062658-9, both sons of Afzal Ahmed, and Tariq Ahmed Wasi son of Muhammad Wasi CNIC number 42301-8003405-3 in this murder has been proved,” the FIR said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the murder and ordered the government to register an FIR by the end of the day.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday used Pakistan’s so-called “suo moto” provision — which allows him to take up cases on his own initiative — to set up a bench of five judges to supervise an investigation into the killing of the prominent television journalist in Kenya in October.
Sharif left Pakistan in August over threats to his life and after a slew of court cases related to charges of treason and others were registered against him. He was killed by Kenyan police on the outskirts of Nairobi on October 23, in what police said was a case of “mistaken identity” during the search for a car involved in a child abduction case.
But a two-member Pakistani fact-finding team that visited the East African state subsequently called the killing a “targeted assassination.”
The court said it had sought initial responses from the Pakistani foreign office, interior ministry, information secretary and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).
“The journalist community and the public at large are deeply distressed and concerned about the death of the senior journalist and are seeking the court’s scrutiny of the matter,” the court said in a statement.
Sharif worked for many years as a prime-time television news show host for ARY News in Pakistan. In the last year of his life, he was known to be a harsh critic of the military and a supporter of ex-PM Imran Khan.
Khan has said Sharif had been murdered for his journalistic work and called for a judicial investigation.