Pakistan drops ISI officer from panel probing journalist Arshad Sharif's killing in Kenya

The move comes just a day after former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday claimed that Sharif was killed in a targeted attack. Khan said that he had advised Sharif to leave the country in view of the threats to his life

PTIUpdated: Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 05:56 PM IST
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Slain Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif | File

Islamabad (Pakistan): The Pakistan government on Wednesday reconstituted a panel probing the killing of senior journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya by dropping an ISI representative from the team, days after he was shot dead by the Nairobi police.

Sharif, 49, a former reporter and TV anchor with ARY TV, and known for his proximity to former prime minister Imran Khan, had fled to Kenya after he was booked on charges of sedition and peddling "anti-state" narrative by Pakistan's security agencies earlier this year.

The journalist was shot dead at a police checkpoint at an hour's distance from Nairobi on Sunday night. The Kenyan police later said it was a case of "mistaken identity" during a search for a similar car involved in a child abduction case.

On Wednesday, the Interior Ministry removed a representative of the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) from the list of officials who will be part of the team that will ascertain facts in the killing of Sharif from the Kenyan Police and relevant authorities.

The ministry removed ISI Lt Col Saad Ahmed's name hours after it had issued an earlier notification stating the names of three officials part of the high-profile team, according to a revised notification.

The two-member team, which includes Director/DIG Police, FIA Athar Waheed and Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau Omar Shahid Hamid, will submit its report to the Interior Division.

According to the notification, the team will leave for Kenya immediately and noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan's High Commission in Nairobi will facilitate the team during the visit.

Imran claims killing was 'targeted attack'

The move comes just a day after former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday claimed that Sharif was killed in a targeted attack. Khan said that he had advised Sharif to leave the country in view of the threats to his life.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday announced that his government will form a three-member judicial commission to probe the journalist's killing.

Meanwhile, the mortal remains of Sharif arrived in Islamabad early Wednesday morning. Local TV channel footage showed a large number of people gathered at the Islamabad airport, including members of the media fraternity and leaders from Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

"My Arshad is back, but in [a] coffin," his wife Javeria Siddique said on Twitter. She also shared a video showing the coffin.

US says it's 'deeply saddened'

The tragic killing reverberated internationally and the US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that the United States was "deeply saddened" by Sharif's death and demanded a probe.

Earlier, Pakistan's powerful army had asked the government to carry out a high-level probe.

Military spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar reiterated the demand in an interview with 24 News on Tuesday.

"I think a thorough investigation needs to be conducted to tackle these things. I believe that the probe should not just be into these things (killing) but also on why Arshad Sharif had to leave Pakistan," he said.

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