Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar, the director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), on Tuesday confirmed the military has requested the government to conduct a high-level probe into the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif by Kenyan law enforcement officials.
“We have requested the government to hold a high-level investigation so that all these speculations can be put to rest,” he told 24News in a telephone interview. “All aspects of this terrible incident need to be looked into,” he stressed, referring to Kenyan police fatally wounding Sharif on Oct. 23 in what they have described as a case of “mistaken identity.”
Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that the Army had written a letter to the government urging it to constitute a high-level panel to look into the killing of Sharif. It had also suggested initiating legal proceedings, in accordance with the Constitution, against anyone accusing state institutions of a role in the killing without any evidence.
Referring to the various accusations—primarily emerging from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf—of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies’ alleged involvement in Sharif’s killing, the military spokesman reiterated that an investigation should be conducted to address their claims. “It is very unfortunate that people engage in allegations without any evidence to back them up,” he said. “An exhaustive investigation should be carried out to deal with these things,” he said, adding that it was “critical” to be aware that some elements were trying to exploit this tragic incident to their advantage.
“I believe it should also be investigated as to why Arshad Sharif had to leave Pakistan in the first place,” he said, noting that even though Kenyan police had confessed to their “mistake,” there were plenty of unanswered questions about the incident.
Following Maj. Gen. Iftikhar’s interview, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issued a video statement from Saudi Arabia announcing he had decided to form a judicial commission headed by a high court judge to probe the tragic incident.
Sharif’s body reached Pakistan early on Wednesday, with a burial scheduled for later in the day.