In a recent turn of events, a district and sessions court has issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Summaiya Arshad, the wife of the late journalist Arshad Sharif, and producer Ali Usman. The warrants were issued as a result of their failure to appear in court despite being summoned.
Arshad Sharif, a well-known anchorperson, had left Pakistan in August 2022 to evade arrest in connection with multiple cases, including sedition charges. These charges were filed against him following an interview with PTI leader Shahbaz Gill, during which Gill made controversial remarks. Shahbaz Gill had served as a special assistant to the prime minister during PTI’s government from 2018 to 2022.
Citing concerns for his safety, Sharif initially moved to Dubai in August and later relocated to Kenya. Tragically, he met a mysterious and untimely demise when he was shot dead on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, on October 23.
Martin Mavenjin, the Senior Programme Adviser of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission (KHRC), revealed that the local authorities’ murder investigation suggested the possibility of an “inside job” and hinted at Sharif being under surveillance for an extended period.
A separate case is currently ongoing in the Supreme Court, initiated after Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial took suo moto notice of the investigative journalist’s case in December 2022. In the most recent hearing held in July 2023, the top court declined the plea made by Sharif’s mother to include five individuals believed to possess information about those responsible for the assassination in the scope of the investigation. One of the individuals named was former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief, Imran Khan.
The court clarified that its role in this suo moto case was to facilitate the investigation into Arshad Sharif’s assassination and it did not have the authority to dictate the direction of the investigation. Instead, it directed the petitioner to approach the Special Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
During the proceedings, Justice Bandial emphasized the importance of understanding why Sharif had traveled to Kenya and stressed the need to examine the vehicle in which the journalist met his tragic end.
Simultaneously, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the court that the case could not move forward until a mutual cooperation agreement was reached with Kenya. Additionally, the Attorney General of Pakistan informed the court that communication with Interpol was in progress.
Initially, Sharif’s lawyer had approached the Islamabad High Court to request the formation of a judicial commission to ensure a fair and transparent investigation into his client’s assassination.
The issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants for Summaiya Arshad and producer Ali Usman adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation into the high-profile murder case. The court’s decision underscores the gravity of the situation and the determination to bring all those involved to justice. As the case continues to unfold, the nation watches eagerly for answers surrounding the tragic demise of Arshad Sharif, a journalist who dedicated his life to uncovering the truth.