The government has submitted the notification for the formation of JIT in the Supreme Court. The team includes officials from the police and intelligence agencies. In the preliminary investigation report, the killing of Arshad Sharif has been declared as a target killing.
The Pakistani government has formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the murder of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya on the direction of the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court started the hearing of the suo motu notice related to the murder of Arshad Sharif, when the government submitted the notification for the formation of the JIT in the court. The JIT consists of representatives from secret agencies ISI, IB as well as police and FIA.
Preliminary report in Arshad Sharif murder case
Weeks after the mysterious murder of Arshad Sharif and unprecedented pressure from various quarters to demand an independent investigation, a preliminary report by a team of Pakistani investigators has come out. According to this report, Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif was killed in Kenya as part of a plan.
On the other hand, Islamabad Police has charged two Pakistani businessman brothers in the light of this report. Both of them hosted Arshad Sharif in Kenya. However, the report did not present any evidence regarding the claim of his involvement in Arshad Sharif’s murder. There was no immediate comment from Kenya on the report.
50-year-old Arshad Sharif went into hiding in Kenya to avoid the risk of arrest in Pakistan. He was accused of defaming the national institutions of Pakistan. It’s an allegation particularly used against critics of the powerful military that has ruled Pakistan, dominating all the country’s institutions for half of the country’s 75-year history.
Arshad Sharif was killed in Kenya on October 23 when his moving vehicle was pelted with bullets. As soon as the news of the attack on Arshad Sharif and his death became public, the Nairobi police expressed regret over the incident and said that the vehicle in which Arshad Sharif was riding was suspicious due to his involvement in a child abduction case. He was shot dead from a police post outside the Kenyan capital due to a “mistaken identity”.
The extraordinary pressure of independent research
Journalists and international human rights organizations and institutions, including Reporters Without Borders, had loudly demanded an independent investigation into the murder, on which the Prime Minister of Pakistan promised to share the results of the investigation with the public. Meanwhile, Rifat Ara Alvi, the mother of the deceased Arshad Sharif, along with the Pakistan Army and the Pakistani journalist community, and other family members also demanded an independent investigation of the case from the government.
What does the investigative report say?
Two Pakistani investigators traveled to Kenya to conduct preliminary investigations into the murder, where they met with the police and Sharif’s host brothers Khurram and Waqar Ahmed. The 592-page report compiled since then said Kenyan police issued conflicting statements after the incident.
According to the report, Khurram Ahmed told the investigators that after eating out at night, he was going home in the car with Arshad Sharif when the incident of firing took place.
According to Khurram, when he looked out of the car, the police had blocked the road, on which he (Khurram) thought that the road had been blocked by robbers. After that, they started driving away from there without stopping, when they heard the sounds of bullets. According to Khurram Ahmad, he then called his brother, who advised him to keep driving until he reached his family farmhouse. This farmhouse was several kilometers away. On reaching there, these brothers ‘found Arshad Sharif dead.’
This report does not shed any light on whether Khurram Ahmad’s statements seem suspicious or not. It merely states that the Kenyan police in this case were allegedly used as ‘instruments’ in the killing, possibly in return for financial or other compensation. However, there are no explanations and details in the report that are solid evidence in favor of these allegations.
The report quoted a Kenyan police statement as saying, “This was a premeditated, targeted killing.” It could involve people from Kenya, Dubai or Pakistan.”
Arshad Sharif left Pakistan for the United Arab Emirates before traveling to Kenya in August, where he stayed for some time. The report further stated that the bullets that caused Arshad Sharif’s death were either fired from inside the vehicle or from very close range. However, like all other matters, there is no clear statement or evidence in this report.