RAWALPINDI: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Lt. General Babar Iftikhar on Tuesday said the Army has requested the government to conduct a “high-level investigation” into the “accidental” killing of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.
Initially, Kenyan media quoted the local police as saying Sharif was shot dead by police in a case of “mistaken identity”.
In an interview with a private TV channel on Tuesday, the DG ISPR was asked to comment on the allegations being made against the institutions, he condoled the journalist’s death and called for an inquiry into the killing.
“We have requested the government to hold a high-level investigation so that all these speculations can be put to rest,” he said.
“It is very unfortunate that people indulge in allegations and I think a thorough investigation needs to be conducted to answer these allegations. I believe that the probe should not just be carried out into the “accidental” killing but as why Arshad Sharif had to leave Pakistan,” the DG ISPR said.
Gen Iftikhar stressed that it was important to find answers to questions regarding who forced Sharif to leave Pakistan, where did he live all this time, and what were the circumstances leading to this incident.
“At all these stages unfortunately, at the end of the day, allegations are leveled and institutions are accused. So this speculation has to be put to rest and it has to come to an end.
“This is why we have requested the Government of Pakistan to take legal action against all these people who are leveling allegations without any evidence,” he added.
Sharif’s programmes would be remembered as “textbook journalism”
Recalling Sharif’s work over the years, the DG ISPR said that the journalist was a “very professional man” and his programmes would be remembered as “textbook journalism”.
“This is why it is most upsetting that his accidental death is being used for baseless conversations and finger pointing. We just have to see who is using this unfortunate incident and who is the beneficiary of this thing […] this needs to come to an end,” Gen Iftikhar added.
It is pertinent to mention that shortly before the DG ISPR’s interview, in a speech at a lawyer convention in Peshawar, PTI chief Imran Khan claimed that the slain journalist was a victim of targeted killing.
“He [Sharif] never spared any mafia. He exposed these two families (Sharif and Zardari families) in every programme with proof but no one could scare or buy him … then he started getting threats from unknown numbers to ‘not say this or speak the truth’ when he started exposing this regime.