ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday appointed a retired judge, Abdul Shakoor Paracha, as chairman of a three-member inquiry commission to probe the mysterious murder of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.
The two other members of the commission are: Dr Usman Anwar, an additional inspector general of police, and Omar Shahid Hamid, a deputy director in the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The government, however, changed the composition of the commission for a second time by removing an official of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
It had removed an official of the Inter-Services Intelligence from the commission last week.
The composition of the probe body was changed at a time when an investigation team, comprising one official each from the IB and the FIA, is in Kenya in an attempt to ascertain the motives behind the murder.
A summary of a meeting of the federal cabinet, issued by the interior ministry on Monday, said: “The commission was formed on the demand of the defence ministry to initiate a highest-level inquiry into the incident as per prevalent laws/rules and regulations of Pakistan, in collaboration with the government of Kenya, to ascertain the facts.
“Moreover, post this incident, unnecessary rumour-mongering, virulent speculations and smear campaign has been launched against the armed forces.
“The prime minister has accordingly been pleased to direct that a commission of inquiry be constituted under Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act-2017 to inquire into the tragic incident.
“The federal government, in exercise of powers conferred under the Pakistan Commission Act 2017, can appoint a commission to conduct an inquiry into the matter.”
Terms of reference
According to the commission’s terms of reference (TOR), the commission shall submit its report to the federal government in 30 days and the FIA will provide the secretarial support to the commission, including logistics.
Arshad Sharif was shot dead in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, on Oct 23 allegedly by local police and a police statement expressed “regrets on the unfortunate incident”.
Initially, the Kenyan media quoted police as saying that Arshad Sharif was shot dead by police in a case of “mistaken identity”.
Later, ISPR chief Major General Babar Iftikhar told a private TV channel that the military had requested the government to conduct a “high-level investigation” into the “accidental” killing.
“We have requested the government to hold a high-level investigation so that all these speculations can be put to rest,” he said.
The body of Arshad was sent to Pakistan and he was buried in a graveyard in Islamabad on Thursday (Oct 27).
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2022