Pakistan PM writes to top judge on Khan attack, journalist murder

Shehbaz Sharif calls for the formation of judicial commissions to probe the assassination attempt on Imran Khan and TV journalist’s killing in Kenya.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif
Shehbaz Sharif said he has written two letters to Umar Ata Bandial, the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court [File: Press Information Department/Handout via Reuters]

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked the country’s top judge to form judicial commissions to investigate the assassination attempt on his predecessor Imran Khan and the killing of a Pakistani journalist in Kenya.

In a tweet on Tuesday night, Sharif said he has written two letters to Umar Ata Bandial, the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, requesting that he form a “judicial commission to investigate Arshad Sharif’s killing and attack on Imran [Khan]”.

“These unfortunate incidents are being used to make false allegations, spread chaos and undermine institutions. Let truth b (sic) determined,” he posted.

Khan sustained bullet wounds in his leg last week during a rally in Wazirabad city in Pakistan’s eastern province of Punjab. He was shifted to a hospital in Lahore from where he was discharged on Sunday.

Investigative journalist Arshad Sharif was shot dead last month in Kenya’s capital Nairobi after police reportedly opened fire on his vehicle. Kenyan authorities said they regretted the killing, calling it “a case of mistaken identity”.

But Pakistan’s interior minister on Tuesday said the well-known TV journalist was a victim of a targeted killing.

“We have sought briefing from the inquiry team which visited Kenya and from the information they gave, it looks like this was a targeted attack, and not a case of mistaken identity,” Rana Sanaullah said during a news conference in Islamabad.

In his letter regarding the attempt on Khan’s life, the Pakistani premier suggested the commission should comprise Supreme Court judges, who should seek to investigate the people responsible for providing security to Khan and what security measures were taken to safeguard the politician’s life.

Sharif’s letter also highlighted the delay in registering the police complaint into the matter. A first information report (FIR) was filed by the police on Monday – five days after the assassination attempt – with Khan’s party calling it a “mockery of justice”.

“It is a meaningless FIR. It is not even worth the paper it is written on,” a member of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party told Al Jazeera.

Khan has accused Prime Minister Sharif, interior minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior military official of hatching a plot to kill him. The PTI chief, however, has not shared any evidence to back his claim.

The government and the military have denied the charges, calling for an impartial investigation into the attack.

In his other letter to the top judge on the killing of the journalist in Kenya, Sharif called for the formation of another judicial commission, asking it to look into the reasons behind the journalist’s departure from Pakistan in August and who facilitated it.

Emphasising the importance of impartial investigations into the two incidents to restore public confidence, the prime minister added that the government would provide full support to the two commissions.

“The government is of the opinion that pending criminal investigation and in order to put matters to rest and restore public confidence in state institutions, an impartial body needs to inquire into the matter to ascertain facts, identify culprits, and affix responsibility,” Sharif wrote.

Source: Al Jazeera