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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday finally took suo motu notice of the brutal killing of senior journalist Arshad Sharif.

Notices have been issued to the interior secretary, foreign affairs secretary, information and broadcasting secretary, director general (DG) Federal Investigation Agency, DG Intelligence Bureau and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).

Headed by CJ Bandial, a five-member bench will preside over the proceedings.

Read Sindh govt forms commission for protection of journalists, media practitioners

According to a press release issued by the apex court, the bench is set to hear the matter today at 12:30pm.

Sharif was shot dead on the outskirts of Kenyan capital Nairobi on October 23. His death sent shockwaves across rights organisations, the media fraternity and civil society and prompted calls for a thorough investigation and disclosure of facts.

Initially, the Kenyan media quoted the local police as saying that Sharif was shot dead in a case of “mistaken identity”.

However, later reports reconstructed the events surrounding the killing, stating that an occupant in Sharif’s car at the time of his killing was believed to have shot at paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) officers.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had also said that evidence suggested a prominent Pakistani journalist was the victim of a targeted killing in Kenya, not an accidental shooting, though he still needed more information on the incident.

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Kenyan police spokesman Bruno Shioso declined to respond to the minister’s comments on the death, however.

A police report a day after the shooting had said police officers hunting car thieves opened fire on the vehicle that Sharif was travelling in as it drove through their roadblock without stopping.

Shioso had said the case was now being investigated by the police watchdog, the state Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). A spokesperson at the IPOA did not immediately respond to calls and a message seeking comment.

Sana on the other hand had told the media: “Arshad Sharif’s death is not a case of mistaken identity — I can say, and, on the evidence we have so far, this prima facie is a targeted killing.”

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