Over the killing of TV anchor Arshad Sharif in Kenya, senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Faisal Vawda said that the “plan was hatched” inside Pakistan, media reports said.
These remarks by the PTI leader came hours after the Pakistani government reconstituted the inquiry committee meant to probe Sharif’s killing. During a presser on Wednesday, Vawda refuted any involvement of the military establishment in the tragic incident, reported Dawn. As the death of the famous journalist broke out in Nairobi on Sunday night, social media was abuzz with allegations of involvement of the military.
In the press conference that was held at the National Press Club, Vawda predicted “bloodshed” of several innocent people as well as some prominent PTI leaders ahead of the party’s long march set to be launched from Lahore on Friday.
However, in a strong reaction to this statement by Vawda, PTI leaders accused him of sabotaging the long march. Later, while giving two days to the leader for explaining his statement he made during press conference, the PTI suspended Vawda’s party membership.
During the press conference, the leader claimed that there were some “enemies in the guise of friends” who had misguided Arshad to leave the country although the anchor had “good relations” with the military establishment and there was no threat to his life at home.
“I have already informed Imran Khan about the enemies in the guise of friends and those within the party who believe in a conspiracy theory,” he added.
In yet another claim, he said the journalist was killed from a close range or from within the vehicle in which he was travelling. “Nobody will find Arshad’s mobile phone and laptop as all evidence have been eliminated,” he said, reported Dawn.
Vawda also expressed fear that he could be killed as he has exposed the “enemies pretending to be friends”. He warned that if he was ‘eliminated’ his killers would meet the same fate. “I have recorded a video, spent millions of rupees and named them so they will also be killed if I am assassinated,” he stated.
“The establishment has nothing to do with Arshad’s killing as he was in contact with them and enjoyed good relations with it. He was brainwashed under a conspiracy… he was misguided,” he added. “In fact, his [Arshad’s] visa had expired, which is why he had to leave that country. He was ready to return to Pakistan but was threatened that he will be killed if did so,” he added.
Pakistan spy chief Nadeem Anjum and Director General (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Babar Iftikhar on Thursday held an unprecedented joint press conference over the mystery surrounding the killing of senior Pakistan journalist Arshad Sharif.
Arshad Sharif, who was living in hiding after allegedly receiving death threats for his critical reporting, was shot dead by law enforcement in Kenya on October 24. Arshad, who worked for numerous media outlets, was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s government.
“Since Arshad was an investigative journalist, he also looked into the cypher issue when it surfaced,” DG ISPR was quoted as saying by Geo News. “Facts linked with the cypher and Arshad Sharif’s death need to be found. So there is no ambiguity left in this regard,” he added.
Arshad Sharif was gunned down in Kenya allegedly by the local police on Sunday night, though the police later in a statement expressed regret on what they called an “unfortunate incident.” Kenyan media had initially quoted the local police as saying that Arshad Sharif was shot dead by the police in an incident of “mistaken identity.”
Pak media reports say the frequent change in statements by the police in Kenya has created doubts in the minds of people back home. Former Pakistan prime minister chief Imran Khan alleged that Arshad was a “targeted killing” for exposing the two key political families of Sharif and Zardari.
Paying tribute to the slain journalist, former prime minister Imran Khan claimed that Arshad Sharif was killed in a “targeted attack” as he was a true professional who had exposed the two political families and their corruption in his television programmes with proof, The News International reported.
Besides PTI, a number of journalists and several media organisations strongly condemned Arshad’s killing and called on both the Kenyan and Pakistani authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to bring those responsible to justice.