Sat, 04 Feb 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], December 8 (ANI): Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif's killing could have been a 'targeted assassination' as there were 'discrepancies' found in the statement of the Kenyan police, the findings of a two-person fact-finding team made up of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) personnel revealed on Thursday, reported Dawn.

The 592-page report that the investigators provided to the Supreme Court's five-member bench, led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, refuted the Kenyan police's account of Sharif's murder, which they described as "a case of mistaken identity."According to the investigation, it cannot be excluded that "transnational roles of characters in Kenya, Dubai, and Pakistan" were involved in the assassination, the investigative report stated.

Notably, the report identified several inconsistencies in the sequence of events leading up to Sharif's death. Also, it drew attention to inconsistencies in Salman Iqbal case, the owner of ARY, who made comments in connection with the case.

The report also pointed out the factors, such as the filing of nearly a dozen FIRs, that compelled Arshad Sharif to flee Pakistan. It implied that there was a chance the journalist could have to leave Dubai, Dawn reported.

Arshad Sharif (49), a senior Pakistani journalist was killed in cold blood on October 24 in Kenya when he was driving from Magadi to Nairobi, with his brother Khurram Ahmed, around 10:00 pm.

Arshad Sharif's case is not the first in which a Pakistani journalist has been threatened, tortured, intimidated, or killed in questionable circumstances; in the past, local security agencies have targeted activists and journalists like Saleem Shahzad and Hamid Mir for their alleged "anti-military" stance. Somehow, this incident has prompted worries about the safety of Pakistani journalists.

Since Shehbaz Sharif took over as prime minister in late April, several Pakistani journalists have reported intimidation by army-related agencies.

Pakistan is one of the world's deadliest countries for journalists, with three to four murders each year that are often linked to corruption or illegal trafficking and go completely unpunished, according to a Paris-based media watchdog. (ANI)

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