A first information report (FIR) was registered on Tuesday against the gruesome murder of journalist Arshad Sharif on orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan over a month after he was killed in Kenya, Aaj News reported.
Three people — Waqar Ahmed, Khurram Ahmed, and Tariq Ahmed Wasi — have been nominated in the FIR that was registered at Islamabad's Ramna Police Station on the complaint of the federal government.
The development comes hours after Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial ordered to register an FIR in the case by today, and adjourned the hearing till Wednesday.
A five-member bench including CJP Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar heard the case.
The bench also directed the concerned authorities to submit the report of the fact-finding committee by today.
During the hearing, the bench asked why the final report of the government-formed commission was not provided to the SC, saying it had been waiting for the report for the past 43 days.
The attorney general replied that the report would be submitted by tomorrow, saying that it will be handed over to the SC once the interior minister peruses it.
However, the court directed that the report should be submitted today.
Earlier, the CJP took suo motu notice of the killing of the senior journalist and set the hearing for 12:30 pm today.
The top court had also issued notices to the interior secretary, foreign secretary, information secretary, director generals of the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), Intelligence Bureau, and president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
“The journalist community in the country and the public at large are deeply distressed and are concerned about the death of the senior journalist and are seeking the court’s scrutiny of the matter," the SC said in a statement.
Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry hailed the SC's decision.
“The people expect the SC and the judges to stand up for basic human rights despite pressure for the sovereignty of the Constitution, and will protect human rights.”
Former interior minister Sheikh Rashid also took to Twitter and said that the nation is also looking towards the SC regarding the attack on Imran Khan and the Azam Swati case.
'Wrote a letter to CJP to constitute commission'
At an event today prior to the SC's suo motu notice, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that he has written a letter to the CJP to form a commission and also expressed hope action will be taken in this regard.
He also said that he had spoken to the Kenyan president regarding Arshad's killing. The PM said he himself had spoken to agencies in Pakistan for speedy action.
Following the SC's order, PM took to Twitter and welcomed the decision, saying that the "government will extend full cooperation to the court".
Last month on October 23, Arshad died in Kenya after being shot.
Kenyan media, quoting local police, says 'mistaken identity'
In a news report, The Star, Kenya, had quoted the local police as saying that Arshad was shot dead by police in a case of “mistaken identity”.
The report added that the incident took place on October 23 along the Nairobi-Magadi highway.
"Arshad was shot in the head and killed by police after he and his driver allegedly breached a roadblock that had been set up to check on motor vehicles using the route," the news report by The Star added.
"As per police, at the roadblock, there was a call for police to intercept a car similar to the one Arshad was driving, following a carjacking incident in Pangani area, Nairobi in which a child was taken hostage. The journalist's car was stopped and the passengers asked to identify themselves, reports said, adding that they allegedly failed to stop and drove past the roadblock."
The report further stated that a few minutes later, Arshad's car emerged at the roadblock and they were stopped and asked to identify themselves.
'Arshad was a victim of target killing'
Following the journalist's death, former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan claimed that the death of journalist was an incident of “target killing".
On October 25, while addressing the lawyer’s convention in Peshawar, Imran said that he had advised the journalist to leave the country in view of the risk to his life.
The PTI chief claimed that journalists were tortured after arrest and forced to flee the country. “I received the information that he [Arshad Sharif] will be murdered,” Imran said.
PM forms commission
On October 25, PM decided to form a judicial commission to conduct a probe into the death of the senior journalist. The commission will be headed by a high court judge, Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announced.
However, the commission was reconstituted and a three-member team was formed. The commission included Director FIA Athar Wahid, deputy director general Intelligence Bureau (IB) Omar Shahid Hamid, and Lt Col Saad Ahmed of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Not a case of mistaken identity: interior minister
On November 28, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that evidence suggested Arshad was the victim of a targeted killing and not an accidental shooting, though he still needed more information on the incident.
"Arshad Sharif's death is not a case of mistaken identity - I can say, and, on the evidence we have so far, this prima facie is target killing."
"We still need to obtain more (evidence) to confirm all this ... and we have asked the Kenyan government for more data," he added.
Probe team requests Dubai police to provide vital information
On November 30, the probe team requested Dubai police to provide copies of the visa and other related documents of the slain journalist that pertain to his last visit to the UAE.
The investigators also requested Dubai police to help identify the place where the deceased stayed in Dubai, from August 8 to August 20, 2022.
They also requested them to provide any CCTV footage, if available, of the premises in question, a mapping of Arshad's movements during his stay in Dubai, any information regarding the person(s) that he met during his stay, and clarification over whether his visa was cancelled, and if so the reasons for the cancellation.
The team also sought information about whether any UAE government official met Arshad and asked him to leave the country.