Islamabad Court Issues Non-Bailable Arrest Warrants for Slain Journalist Arshad Sharif’s Widow and TV Show Producer
ISLAMABAD, September 9, 2023 – In a significant development in the murder case of the late journalist Arshad Sharif, an Islamabad district and sessions court has issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Summaiya Arshad, the widow of Arshad Sharif, and Ali Usman, the producer of his program on ARY News. The warrants were issued due to their alleged non-compliance with court summons and the failure of witnesses to appear before the court for testimonies related to the murder case.
Court Summons and Arrest Warrants
The court’s decision to issue non-bailable arrest warrants came after repeated failures of witnesses to appear and record their testimonies regarding the murder of Arshad Sharif, who was fatally shot in Kenya in October the previous year. However, Summaiya Arshad, the journalist’s first wife, claims that she never received a summons from the court and was unaware of the arrest warrant until it was reported in the media.
“I am finding out from the media, and no one told me that non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against me” Summaiya Arshad stated. She also mentioned that the FIR (First Information Report) for her husband’s murder was filed by the state and not by his family, leaving her unaware of the case’s details.
Arshad Sharif’s second wife, Javeria Siddique, also denied receiving any summons from the sessions court and expressed her frustration on social media, describing the situation as “victimization” and an attempt to silence the family of the slain journalist.
Background of the Case
Arshad Sharif, a vocal critic of the government and the military establishment, left Pakistan in August 2022 after facing multiple sedition cases in various cities. He initially resided in the United Arab Emirates before moving to Kenya, where he met his untimely demise.
Initially, Kenyan media reports suggested that Sharif was mistakenly shot by the police. However, later accounts indicated that a passenger in Sharif’s car at the time of the incident had fired at paramilitary officers from the General Service Unit.
The Pakistani government formed a team to investigate the murder in Kenya, and a progress report was submitted to the Supreme Court, which had taken suo motu notice of the case in March.
The FIR and Ongoing Questions
The FIR for Arshad Sharif’s murder was registered in December 2022 on the orders of the Supreme Court. It was filed by the station house officer of the Ramna police station, Rasheed Ahmed, and named three individuals as suspects.
The FIR charged the suspects under Sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code. It stated that the murder occurred on October 23 in Kenya and that the postmortem examination took place at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences.
Javeria Siddique had previously questioned why the case was registered based on the police’s complaint rather than by the family members of the slain journalist, suggesting that only Sharif’s mother should have the authority to file the FIR.
Q1: Why were non-bailable arrest warrants issued for Summaiya Arshad and Ali Usman?
A: Non-bailable arrest warrants were issued due to their alleged non-compliance with court summons and the failure of witnesses to appear before the court in the murder case of journalist Arshad Sharif.
Q2: What is the background of the Arshad Sharif murder case?
A: Arshad Sharif, a vocal critic of the government and military in Pakistan, was shot dead in Kenya in October the previous year. He had left Pakistan amid sedition cases against him and had been living in Kenya before his murder.
Q3: Who filed the FIR for Arshad Sharif’s murder, and what charges were included?
A: The FIR for Arshad Sharif’s murder was filed by the station house officer of the Ramna police station, Rasheed Ahmed. The charges included in the FIR were under Sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Q4: What is the current status of the case, and who is investigating it?
A: The case is under investigation by Pakistani authorities, and a progress report was submitted to the Supreme Court, which has taken suo motu notice of the case. The authorities are actively looking into the circumstances surrounding Arshad Sharif’s murder in Kenya.