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Pakistan's top court takes suo moto notice of journalist's killing in Kenya

Pakistan's top court takes suo moto notice of journalist's killing in Kenya

Supreme Court directs government to file case by tonight and present findings of probe team that visited Kenya and UAE

 

 

By Islamuddin Sajid

 

ISLAMABAD (AA) – A top Pakistani court on Tuesday took suo moto notice of the brutal murder of the country's well-known journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya and ordered the government to file a case by tonight.

A larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heard the case and issued orders to the federal government to file the first information report (FIR), 43 days after his "targeted" killing in Kenya.

The court directed the government authorities concerned to present the FIR copy and the inquiry report conducted by the two-member investigation team, which visited Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he stayed after leaving Pakistan, on Wednesday, when the hearing will resume.

“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 court said in a statement issued.

“The FIR should be registered by tonight,” Bandial ordered the government.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s welcomed the development, saying “I had already written a letter to Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan for setting up a Judicial Commission to probe the murder.”

The government will extend full cooperation to the court, he said.

Earlier, senior journalist Imran Riaz Khan launched a “Write Letter To Chief Justice” campaign last week, eliciting a massive response from across the South Asian nation, with people sending letters to the top judge, urging him to investigate Sharif's murder.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan joined the campaign and wrote a letter to Bandial urging for immediate action.

Sharif, a popular Pakistani journalist and TV broadcaster, was killed by police on Oct. 23 in Nairobi’s suburb.

Before he fled Pakistan, over dozen cases were filed against him.

Last month, his mother also wrote a letter to the chief justice, requesting him to form a judicial commission to investigate who ordered the registration of cases against Sharif.

“A journalist was killed. It should be revealed who was behind the killing,” the top judge remarked during the hearing, adding that the fact-finding committee had returned after visiting Kenya.

“Why has the final report of the government formed commission not been provided to the SC?” asked Bandial, according to the daily Dawn

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