Arshad Sharif's murder 'planned assassination', says fact-finding team

Team claims transnational actors involved in 'targetted' murder, inconclusive if Sharif tortured


Hasnaat Malik December 07, 2022
PHOTO: Arshad Sharif/Facebook

ISLAMABAD:

The fact-finding team probing the murder of Arshad Sharif has concluded that his killing was a case of planned and targeted assassination by transnational characters and not a case of mistaken identity, as the Kenyan police earlier claimed.

According to the team’s report, the “transnational roles” of individuals from Kenya, Dubai, and Pakistan cannot be ruled out in the case.

“The four GSU (General Service Unit) police officials and OC GSU Training camp had been used as instruments in this case under influence, either financial or some other compulsion,” it stated.

The report stated that Waqar – who sponsored and hosted the journalist – was connected to Kenya's National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other international agencies and law enforcement.

It furthered that the fact that Waqar handed over Sharif’s personal cell phone and iPad to a NIS officer, rather than to the police, 'established' his link with the NIS.

“His linkage with national and international agencies provides a scope of possibilities of transnational characters in this case”.

The report also said that the narrations presented by Khurram, who drove the vehicle prior to Sharif’s murder, regarding the sequence of events and the crime scene, were contrary to logic and facts, and that there were no penetration marks of a bullet on Sharif's car seat.

Rather, the journalist was hit from the back and the bullet exited from the right side of his chest. The report maintained that Khurram’s narrative did not match “his [Sharif’s] sitting position, the position of the gunners as well as the line of fire”.

The report also declared that the Kenyan police’s claims of portraying the incident as a case of “mistaken identity” was also full of contradictions and that the statements given by the GSU police officials contradict themselves.

“Their version of events is not believable”.

It furthered that the post-mortem report in Pakistan identified that four fingernails of the slain journalist's left hand were missing, giving rise to speculation that Sharif had been tortured before his death.

However, it continued, that while the Kenyan post-mortem did mention "fingernails" taken as DNA samples, it did not mention how many fingernails were taken.

“Keeping in view the apparent differences in the two post-mortem reports, there is no concrete evidence to establish that Arshad Sharif was tortured before the killing,” the report said.

Moreover, the fact-finding team stated that there were "compelling reasons for Sharif to leave Pakistan due to the criminal cases registered against him in different districts” of the country and that he was asked to leave the UAE by Emirati authorities.

The report also highlighted the five principles of international criminal law that invoke the criminal jurisdiction of any country. These principles include the territorial principle, nationality principles, passive personality principle, protection principle, and universal principle.

With the aforementioned facts in view, the fact-finding team recommended that a case be registered under the relevant provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act at the Counter Terrorism Wing (CTW) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the basis of Section 4 of PPC. This section discusses the principle of nationality in international criminal jurisdiction.

The team comprised two senior officials and was created by the incumbent federal government.

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