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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has said the Special Joint Investigation Team (SJIT) should probe the basic questions, what motivated Arshad Sharif to leave Pakistan and why Dubai government ordered the renowned journalist to leave the country.

Senior journalist Arshad Sharif was killed on 23rd October 2022, in Kajlado County, about three hours outside Nairobi, Kenya.

A five-member bench in its written order, uploaded on the Supreme Court’s website, though accepted the explanation of the additional attorney for not approaching the United Nations regarding Arshad’s murder but asked the SJIT to find out; What motivated Arshad Sharif to leave Pakistan? In this respect the SJIT may investigate the multiple FIRs lodged against the deceased journalist and any sensitive information that may have been in his possession. Why did the Government of Dubai order Mr Arshad Sharif to leave the country? Who released the two-member committee’s fact-finding report and what was the reason behind the same?

The Additional Attorney General submitted before the court that the proper diplomatic channel has been invoked under the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2011 for seeking the cooperation of the Government of Kenya. Therefore, time may be given for that process to run its course before approaching the United Nations.

The 595-page report of the Fact Finding Team (FFT) said that 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 General Service Unit (GSU) police officials contradict themselves.

The report said; “Their (GSU police officials) version of events is not believable,” and 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. The “transnational roles” of individuals from Kenya, Dubai, and Pakistan cannot be ruled out in the case, it further said.

“The four GSU 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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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