Arshad Sharif Murder Case: Islamabad Court Halts Proceedings Due to Lack of Prosecution's Involvement

Court says despite 15 opportunities, the state has not provided or recorded evidence nor has it managed to present witnesses

Arshad Sharif Murder Case: Islamabad Court Halts Proceedings Due to Lack of Prosecution's Involvement

A lower court in Islamabad has decided to halt proceedings in the Arshad Sharif murder case, citing a lack of interest from the prosecution to record evidence and complete other requirements to push the case forward.

An order in this regard was issued by Islamabad-West Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Abbas Shah on Tuesday.

The court noted that it received a challan in the case on March 16, 2023. Subsequently, the prosecution was asked to present their witnesses on April 5, 2023.

"Thereafter, repeated summons were issued to the prosecution witnesses," the written order stated. But none of the listed prosecution witnesses bothered to appear before the court.

"None of them (PWs) appeared before the court for recording of evidence which shows lack of interest of prosecution in recording of evidence in the instant case," the order observed. 

The court further noted that the prosecution had more than 15 opportunities to produce evidence or record testimonies but it had failed to do so.
At the last hearing of the case, the court said that the state was put on notice as to why the case file should not be consigned to the record room, and the court should continue to hear the case.
In response to the notice, the Public Prosecutor appeared on Tuesday and recorded his statement that private as well as official witnesses of the case are not turning up. The private witnesses include the family of Arshad Sharif.

"In view of above, proceeding of the instant case file is hereby stopped," the court directed. It further observed that the complainant or prosecution can apply to affix the case for hearing when the prosecution or complainant produces all the prosecution witnesses.

"File be consigned to the record room after its due completion till further orders," the court concluded.

It is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court had also taken suo moto cognizance of Arshad Sharif's assassination, and the case is still pending adjudication. 

Arshad Sharif's family had requested to register an FIR nominating top military officials, accusing them of plotting the journalist's assassination overseas.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain