Pakistan's top judge has ordered the Supreme Court to investigate the death of an official probing a corruption scandal involving the country's prime minister.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who is hearing the corruption case, ordered another bench on Wednesday to probe Kamran Faisal's death, following a report from the court's registrar listing the doubts of his friends and family that Faisal had committed suicide.

"The office is directed to place this case before another bench on January 24 for further proceedings," Chaudhry told the court.

He described Faisal's death as "shocking" and said that his family, friends and colleagues were not satisfied with the current investigation, being carried out by police and a government-appointed commission.

Kamran Faisal was found dead last Friday in a government hostel just days after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over the long-running graft scandal into so-called Rental Power Plants (RPPs).

Cause of death disputed

According to the initial findings of an autopsy, Faisal committed suicide, but his family and some colleagues dispute that he had killed himself.

"His family members, colleagues, friends and the public at large have shown annoyance and grievances," said Chaudhry, reading out the report submitted by the Supreme Court registrar.

"And according to them, they are not expecting free, fair and honest investigation because of the involvement of highly influential political and executive authorities of the country in the RPP scam," said the judge.

The long-running probe into the prime minister and other officials relates to allegations of kickbacks during Ashraf's tenure as minister for water and power.

Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), for which Faisal worked, has suspended its probe into the scandal pending inquiries into the death.

NAB says Faisal, second in charge of the RPP probe, suffered from "mental stress" and "psychological issues".

He had asked to be taken off the case, but the Supreme Court refused a written request on January 7 and orderedhe be reinstated.


Suicide is frowned upon under Islam and Faisal's family say they believe he was murdered.

"We need justice and it is not a case of suicide. We are 100 percent sure he has been murdered," his brother-in-law, Hamid Munir, told reporters on Wednesday, calling for the killers to be unmasked.

Source: Agencies