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Killing of Pakistani journalist in Kenya pre-meditated murder: probe team

A team set up by the Pakistani government to probe the killing of a well-known Pakistani journalist in Nairobi said it found several contradictions in the version given by Kenyan authorities and believes it was a case of premeditated murder.

TV journalist Arshad Sharif, who had fled Pakistan citing threats to his life, was shot dead in Nairobi in October.

A two-member fact-finding team from Pakistan that travelled to Kenya and conducted several interviews, examined and reconstructed the crime scene and examined the deceased’s phones and computers, said in a 600-page report that Sharif’s killing was a pre-planned murder.

“Both the members of the (fact-finding team) have a considered understanding that it is a case of planned targeted assassination with transnational characters rather than a case of mistaken identity,” said the report, copies of which were submitted to Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

READ MORE: Prominent Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif shot dead in Kenya – wife

Kenyan officials silent

“The investigation into the matter is still ongoing, so there is not much I can tell,” said Resila Onyango, spokesperson for the Kenya National Police Service.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had said before the release of the report that Sharif’s body had bruises and torture marks, suggesting it was a targeted killing.

The fact-finding team highlighted one wound in particular on Sharif’s back, saying it appeared to have been inflicted from a relatively close range.

The report noted there was no corresponding penetration mark of a bullet on the seat on which Sharif was sitting when the shooting purportedly took place, calling it a “ballistic impossibility”.

“The injury had to have been caused either before the journalist got into the vehicle, or the shot was fired from a relatively close range, possibly from inside the vehicle, and almost certainly not a moving vehicle,” the report said.

Case of sedition

Sharif had fled from Pakistan citing threats to his life after the government registered several treason cases against him.

Sharif had left the country first for Dubai and later London in August after his channel parted ways with him, without citing any specific reason, following the ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote in April.

Sharif along with other ARY officials were charged with sedition over a controversial interview with Shahbaz Gill, the leader of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which was broadcast on the channel in August. 

Gill was later arrested and released on bail.

Sharif was known to be a staunch supporter of the former premier and openly criticised the alleged role of some state institutions in his ouster.

Former prime minister Khan said Sharif had been murdered for his journalistic work. He and his successor Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, not related to the journalist, had called for a judicial investigation.

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