A team set up by the Pakistani government to probe the killing of a well-known Pakistani journalist in Nairobi reported that it was a case of premeditated murder.
The team said it found several contradictions in the version given by Kenyan authorities which made them come to the conclusion
A two-member fact-finding team from Pakistan had travelled to Kenya and conducted a number of interviews about the death of a TV journalist, Arshad Sharif, who had fled Pakistan citing threats to his life but was shot dead in Nairobi in October.
The team, in a 600-page report, said that Sharif’s killing was a pre-planned murder after they had examined and reconstructed the crime scene and examined the deceased’s phones and computers.
“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.
“It is more probable that the firing was done, after taking proper aim, at a stationary vehicle,” it said.
Kenyan authorities declined to comment on the specifics of the report.
Resila Onyango, spokesperson for the Kenya National Police Service said “the investigation into the matter is still ongoing, so there is not much I can tell.
“A multi-agency team is conducting the investigation. The team will apprise authorities when they are done with the probe.’’
The chairperson of the Kenyan police watchdog Independent Police Oversight Authority, Anne Makori, also told Reuters investigations were still ongoing.
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 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.
Sharif had fled from Pakistan citing threats to his life after the government registered several treason cases against him.
One of the treason cases stemmed from reporting Sharif that led to an accusation he had spread a call from an official in a previous government, led by former cricket star Imran Khan, for members of the armed forces to mutiny.
Both Sharif and the official in the previous government denied inciting mutiny.
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.
The fact-finding team’s report also pointed out apparent contradictions in the autopsy reports in Kenya and Pakistan.
The post-mortem report in Pakistan identified 12 injuries on Sharif’s body whereas the Kenyan report identified just two injuries pertaining to gunshot wounds.
The fact-finding team report said doctors believed the injuries may be the result of torture or a struggle, but it could not be established until verified by the doctor who conducted the post-mortem in Kenya.