State fact-finding team concludes Arshad Sharif murder was a “planned assassination”

The fact-finding team (FFT) looking into death of journalist Arshad Sharif has determined that it was a case of planned and deliberate assassination by foreign actors.

The FFT was established by the Pakistani government to ascertain facts regarding the murder of Arshad Sharif.

The 592-page report drafted by the team, led by Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Athar Waheed and Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) Omar Shahid Hamid, also refuted the Kenyan Police’s assertion that Arshad Sharif was killed as a result of a mistaken identity.

“The statements of Khurram Ahmed — one of the key suspects in the case, who was driving Arshad Sharif when the incident took place — are full of contradictions while the Kenyan police did not provide any assistance in the investigation,” the report says.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) of Kenya, as well as other international organizations and law enforcement, were said to be in contact with Waqar Ahmed, Khurram’s brother and the person who sponsored and hosted the journalist, according to the report.

It went on to say that Waqar’s connection to the NIS was “established” by the fact that he gave Sharif’s iPad and personal cell phone to a NIS agent rather than to the police.

The report also stated that Khurram’s explanations of the events and the crime scene were illogical and unsupported by the evidence, and that there were no bullet penetration marks on Sharif’s car seat.

Khurram was the driver of the car at the time Sharif was killed.

According to the report, Sharif’s sitting position, the locations of the gunners, and the line of fire did not correspond to Khurram’s account. Rather, Sharif was shot from behind, and the bullet left his body through the right side of his chest.

“One bullet hit him in the upper back, about 6 to 8 inches below the neck and exited from the other side (chest). It is not difficult to deduce from the wound that it was a close-range shooting, while the angle at which the bullet was fired, it should have made a hole in the car seat as well,” the report reads.

The report also stated that the statements made by the GSU police officials are contradictory and that the Kenyan police’s claims that the incident was a case of “mistaken identity” are full of inconsistencies.

Further evidence that Sharif had been tortured before his death came from Pakistan’s post-mortem report, which noted that the left hand’s four missing fingernails were missing.

The Kenyan post-mortem did mention fingernails taken as DNA samples, but did not specify how many fingernails were taken.

“Keeping in view the apparent differences in the two post-mortem reports, there is no concrete evidence to establish that Arshad Sharif was tortured before the killing,” the report said.

Why did Arshad Sharif leave Pakistan?

The fact-finding committee’s report claimed that Sharif had “compelling reasons to leave Pakistan due to the criminal cases registered against him in different districts.”

Arshad Sharif allegedly received death threats, according to his family and friends.

Only nine of the 16 cases against Arshad Sharif that were filed in Pakistan were copied and given to the investigation committee. Authorities in the UAE also requested that he leave.

According to the report, Sharif received a UAE visa on June 20, 2022, and the document was valid until August 18, 2022. When Sharif traveled to Kenya, his visa was still valid for 20 days. On October 12, 2022, he applied for a new visa, but it was denied.

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