Sana says Arshad Sharif killed in ‘targeted attack’

PM writes to CJ for judicial inquiry into journalist’s murder


APP November 09, 2022
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Tuesday 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.

Kenyan police spokesman Bruno Shioso declined to respond to the minister's comments on the death of TV journalist Arshad Sharif, who was shot dead on the evening of Oct 23 on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

A police report a day after the shooting 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 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 told the media on Tuesday: "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 target killing."

"We still need to obtain more (evidence) to confirm all this ... and we have asked the Kenyan government for more data," he added.

The government had formed an investigation team to look into the matter, which caused uproar in the country. The minister said the team had returned from Kenya, but Kenyan police had not yet given Pakistani investigators all of Sharif's recovered belongings.

"We will now ask the foreign office to contact the Kenyan government, and the prime minister will also speak to the Kenyan president," the minister said.

Responding to a question over an FIR regarding the Wazirabad attack on the PTI chief, the minister said Imran Khan wanted the FIR according to his demands. "He [Imran] cannot get an FIR registered and wants to bring about a revolution," said the minister.

He said that there "must be some sort of evidence" for an FIR to be registered and if one is to go by the PTI's demands, then someone can even register a case against the chief justice.

Read Punjab top cop seeks transfer amid FIR row

He added that till now only one suspect was taken into custody and there are no other suspects.

PM writes to CJP for judicial inquiry

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has requested Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to constitute a judicial commission to hold an impartial and credible inquiry into the killing of renowned journalist Arshad Sharif.

In a letter written to the top judge on Tuesday, the prime minister asked the CJP to form a commission comprising all available judges of the apex court to ascertain the facts surrounding the mysterious murder of the journalist, who was shot dead in Kenya last month.

The letter suggested that the commission may focus on five questions related to the circumstances surrounding the killing:

What procedure Arshad Sharif adopted to go abroad in August 2022 and who facilitated his departure abroad?

Was any federal or provincial agency, institution or administration aware of the threat issued to Arshad Sharif?

What circumstances and reasons forced Arshad Sharif to travel to Kenya from the United Arab Emirates?

What is the real truth behind the firing incident in which Arshad Sharif died?

Is Arshad Sharif's death really a case of mistaken identity or is it the result of a ‘criminal game’?

Read more Punjab top cop seeks transfer amid FIR row

PM Shehbaz has said in the letter that the formation of a commission is necessary to uphold the rule of law in the country and added that the federal government will extend full support to the panel in investigating the murder.

The premier told the chief justice that judicial inquiry into the killing was inevitable to restore public confidence in the state institutions as doubts were being raised over the alleged involvement of government officials in the gruesome murder.

The development came days after slain journalist Arshad Sharif’s mother, Riffat Ara Alvi, penned a letter on Wednesday to Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial requesting him to form a high-level judicial commission to probe into her son’s death.

Riffat urged CJ Bandial to “protect the case from controversy and political hypocrisy and provide justice to the family”.

"My shaheed son Arshad Sharif during his life, wrote a letter to your honour on 12th July 2022 to bring into your notice the threats to his life and the numerous baseless criminal cases initiated across the country by the present government (multiple FIRs) against him on the grounds of sedition and other charges. On account of this my shaheed son was forced to leave the country on 10th August 2022 and had to take refuge in Dubai," she wrote.

She said that when Sharif had reached Dubai, she was relieved that he was out of danger but the government "pressured" the UAE government which forced her son to flee the country.

Riffat further said that her son was "mercilessly assassinated" after two months in Kenya. She also urged the apex court to take notice of the government’s “behaviour” following the incident.

"Well before the investigation team had left for Kenya on 28th October 2022, federal ministers started airing different fabricated stories in relation to the death of my shaheed son which are available on media record," she highlighted.

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