Fact-finding committee’s report into Arshad Sharif murder submitted to SC

592-page report says Arshad’s murder was orchestrated: Role of foreigners is vital in the case and warrants an investigation as slain journalist’s hosts especially Waqar Ahmad failed to give satisfactory answers: Reveals Waqar Ahmad has links with international intelligence agencies: Says trajectory of bullets that hit Arshad Sharif does not match the firing pattern

By: News Desk
Published: 11:27 AM, 7 Dec, 2022
Fact-finding committee’s report into Arshad Sharif murder submitted to SC
Caption: File photo.
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The fact-finding committee’s report on the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif has been submitted to the Supreme Court, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The 592-page report bears signatures of both the director generals of FIA and Intelligence Bureau.

A five-judge larger SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar will hear the case later today (Wednesday).

According to the report, the role of foreign characters in the murder case was significant. Especially, the role of Arshad’s hosts Khurram and Waqar Ahmad is very important and warrants a probe. 

The report said that Waqr Ahmad failed to give satisfactory answers to the questions put on him by the investigation team. Notwithstanding, Arshad Sharif’s murder was orchestrated. 

The report reveals that Waqar Ahmad has links not only with Kenyan intelligence agency but also with other international intelligence agencies. The report further says that statements of Khurram (who was driving the vehicle on the day of the incident) were also full of contradictions. Both were reluctant to provide required information. 

The probe made by the investigation team revealed that Arshad was receiving life threats as was claimed by his family members and friends. But the probe team was unable to find who was hurling threats. The report says 16 cases were registered against Arshad in Pakistan but the probe team was provided copies of just 9 cases. 

The report further says that the committee wrote letters to Islamabad, Balochistan and Sindh IGs and also wrote letters to the complainants of the FIR. However, only three complainants appeared before the committee. In a single day on May 19, 2022, three cases were registered against Arshad and 6 cases were filed on May 20. 

The report also points out that the legal procedure has not been followed in the registration of cases against the slain journalist. 

Arshad Sharif stayed in the guest house of Waqar Ahmed for two months and three days. Waqar Ahmed has connections with Kenyan police and intelligence agencies. He has close ties with Kenya’s National Intelligence Agency, report maintains.

According to Waqar, after the incident, the police handed over Arshad Sharif’s iPhone, iPad, wallet and two USBs to him. He then handed over the iPhone and iPad to a National Intelligence Agency officer,” it stated.

A day later, the Pakistan high commission sent an officer to collect Arshad Sharif’s belongings. According to Waqar, he told the intelligence agency officer about it on a phone call, and the latter stopped him from handing over anything to the Pakistan high commission, it averred.

Later, the Pakistani high commission managed to obtain important evidence including two cell phones, computer and a personal diary of Arshad Sharif. Arshad Sharif was using these items while living in Kenya, the report asserts.

The first three meetings with Waqar Ahmed were very helpful. The fact-finding team visited Arshad Sharif’s residence. During the visit, the team also found the passport of Arshad Sharif, it says.

Waqar Ahmed’s answer to the question about the transfer of USBs and passports to the Pakistani high commission is not satisfactory. He had first expressed his willingness to give the CCTV footage, but he apologised later on. He claimed that the footage had not been handed over to the local authorities. He also said that his lawyer and wife have advised him not to hand over the footage.

Waqar’s younger brother Khurram was also mentioned in the fact-finding report.

According to the report, Khurram had said about taking Arshad Sharif with him after the meal. On the way, they saw stones on the road, and Khurram told Arshad Sharif that they must be dacoits.

As they crossed the stones on the road, they heard the sound of gunshots. As a result, they accelerated the speed of the vehicle they were travelling in. Khurram felt that Arshad Sharif had been shot. He phoned his brother Waqar and asked him to come to the farmhouse. The farmhouse was 18km away. On reaching the farmhouse, Khurram left the car at the gate and ran inside. Arshad died at the gate of the farmhouse, according to Khurram.

Khurram said that from the site of the incident to the farmhouse, he did not know whether Arshad was alive or dead. 

This is a strange thing because Arshad was shot in the head. The angle at which Khurram was sitting in the vehicle, he should have seen that Arshad was badly injured, the report points out.

On October 27 last, Arshad Sharif’s lawyer told the investigation team while answering a question that the ISPR was Arshad’s second home. Arshad Sharif was very close to Brigadier Shafiq. After the change of government, Arshad Sharif had differences with Brigadier Shafiq, the report adds.

The lawyer said that some cases against Arshad Sharif were registered at the behest of Brigadier Shafiq. He was contacted on November 15 after Faisal Vawda’s press conference about the murder of Arshad Sharif, the report states adding that evidence had been sought from Faisal Vawda about the murder of Arshad Sharif. 

Upon his request, the investigation team gave him seven questions in writing. He did not respond when he was contacted again for an answer.

According to the report, Arshad Sharif was issued the UAE visa on June 2022. The visa was valid until Aug 2022. 

When Arshad Sharif reached Kenya, his visa was to expire after 20 days. He applied for new visa on Oct 12, 2022. But his visa request was rejected.

The report also explains the trajectory of the bullets that were fired. 

The trajectory of the bullet that hit Arshad Sharif in the chest does not match the firing pattern, the report says adding that one bullet barreled into the upper part of his back. 

The bullet hit about 6 to 8 inches below the neck and exited from the side of the chest. 

It is not difficult to conclude from the wound that the bullet was fired from the close range. The angle from which the bullet fired should have caused a hole in the car seat as well.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday wrote a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan requesting him to conduct an independent judicial inquiry into the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif, who was shot dead in Kenya on Oct 24.

Yesterday, the SC has taken a suo motu notice of the killing of the journalist and directed the government to register an FIR of the case. 

To comply with the court orders, an FIR was registered on Tuesday at Islamabad's Ramna Police Station. According to the details, three persons have been nominated in the FIR including Khurram, Waqar and Tariq.

During yesterday’s hearing, the Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman told the court that We he would present the report of the fact-finding committee tomorrow (Wednesday). 

Arshad Sharif was shot dead in Kenyan police in October under mysterious circumstances.

On November 8 last, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had requested CJP Umar Ata Bandial to constitute a judicial commission to hold impartial and credible inquiry into the killing of renowned journalist Arshad Sharif.

Reporter Imanat Gishkori