ISLAMABAD: A two-member team was formed Wednesday to investigate deceased senior journalist Arshad Sharif's death, with the government dropping the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official from it.
The government had initially formed a three-member team with Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), ISI, and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers.
But now it has become a two-member team. The team includes FIA Director Athar Waheed and IB’s Deputy Director General Omar Shahid Hamid.
According to the notification issued by the interior ministry, the investigation team will immediately leave for Kenya and submit its report to the ministry.
Apart from the two-member team, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has also announced that a judicial commission headed by a high court judge will conduct a probe into Sharif’s killing.
On October 23, Sharif was shot and killed by the Kenyan police. The country's police admitted that the journalist was killed in a “mistaken identity” case while he was travelling to Nairobi from Kenya’s Magadi town.
The foreign ministry and the officials of the Pakistani High Commission in Kenya will assist the team.
The Kenyan police, in its report, admitted that Sharif was shot in the head in a mistaken identity case.
Sharif's body was brought to Islamabad in the early hours of Wednesday. Members of his family received his body at the Islamabad airport.
The family announced that his funeral prayers will be offered at the Shah Faisal Mosque Islamabadbad at 2pm on Thursday. Later, he will be laid to rest at the H-11 cemetery in the federal capital.
Addressing a lawyer’s convention in Peshawar on Tuesday, PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan claimed that slain journalist Arshad Sharif was targeted killed.
“No matter what anyone says, I know that Arshad Sharif became a victim of target killing,” Khan said.
“I had received information that Sharif would be killed so that truth could be silenced.”
The former premier also claimed that Sharif was receiving threats from unknown numbers.
“I told him to leave the country, but he did not listen,” Khan shared, adding that he considered Sharif the most respected figure in journalism.
The Pakistan Army Tuesday asked the government to conduct a high-level probe into the tragic killing of the journalist.
Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar said, “We have requested the government to hold a high-level investigation so that all these speculations can be put to rest.”
“All the aspects of this terrible incident need to be looked into.”
To a question regarding the accusations being hurled at the institutions' alleged involvement in Sharif’s killing in Kenya, the DG ISPR said: “It is very unfortunate that people engage in allegations without any evidence to back them up … and I think an exhaustive investigation should be carried out to deal with these things”.
Taking responsibility, the Kenyan police said Sharif was gunned down when police, tracking down a jacked car, opened indiscriminate fire on the journalist's automobile mistaking it for a stolen vehicle. A Kenyan police report said that they suspected the car had a minor hostage as it sped through a manned barricade without stopping.
The Foreign Office of Pakistan said that the government is actively engaged with the Kenyan authorities at multiple levels for the speedy repatriation of the mortal remains of Sharif.
Pakistan has also officially asked Kenya to launch an investigation into the incident.
Acting Foreign Secretary Raza Bashir Tarar has also met with the Kenyan High Commissioner in Islamabad to impress upon the importance of the matter.
Tarar also briefed the honourable members of the National Assembly Foreign Relations Committee on the developments.
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