• Estranged PTI leader believes ex-PM can never take office again
• Murad Saeed says he will respond to judicial panel for probe into Arshad Sharif’s murder

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Faisal Vawda on Monday claimed the PTI’s long march was a conspiracy to push its chief Imran Khan into a blind alley.

Mr Khan will never become the prime minister again, he claimed, advising the PTI chairman to think of those who could become the premier and investigate who could be involved in the alleged conspiracy.

The estranged PTI leader made these comments while talking to the media after appearing before a fact-finding committee of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) set up to investigate the murder of senior journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.

Also summoned was PTI Murad Saeed, but he submitted a written reply instead.

Mr Vawda told the media the FIA had handed him over a questionnaire with 10 points, adding he would respond to all the questions.

Following their claims of being aware of the alleged threats to the life of late journalist Arshad Sharif and his murder in Kenya, the FIA had summoned former ministers Vawda and Saeed to its headquarters in Islamabad.

Talking to the media, Vawda claimed the journalist’s murder was planned in Pakistan and he hoped the culprits, who were very powerful, were arrested. However, he said the owner of a TV channel, who was being blamed for involvement in the case, had nothing to do with it.

Meanwhile Murad Saeed, in his letter sent to FIA Director Dr Muhammad Athar Wah­e­­ed and Intelligence Bureau Deputy Director General Omer Shahid Hamid, said since both officers were answerable to Interior Mi­­nister Rana Sanaullah, they could not hold an independent and transparent inquiry.

He further wrote that the mother of Mr Sharif had already expressed her reservations and concerns over the investigation being led by the government.

“She has appealed for justice and expressed dissatisfaction over the government of Pakistan’s handling of the matter. She clearly stated that she had no faith in the Pakistani government. While hoping for justice, two weeks ago, she penned a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) requesting him to form a high-level judicial commission to probe into her son’s assassination,” he said.

Mr Saeed said the government’s seriousness could be gauged from the fact that Arshad’s mother had to invoke the jurisdiction of the Islamabad High Court to even get the post-mortem report of her son from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science in Islamabad. He said there were question marks over the report.

“It may kindly be noted that the PTI has requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan through several constitutional petitions to constitute a trustworthy judicial commission to probe into the horrific murder of Arshad Sharif in Kenya. The undersigned is willing to appear before a judicial commission constituted by the august Supreme Court of Pakistan and present all the information he has with respect to the matter,” he wrote in his letter.

The former minister has also asked as to who was behind the registration of 16 criminal cases against Arshad Sharif, who were the complainants in these cases and what was their background? He also asked who was unhappy with the investigative journalist and issued death and torture threats to him, and who were the people visiting, harassing and threatening him while he was in Pakistan?

“Who leaked the picture of Arshad Sharif taken at the immigration counter of Peshawar Airport, who was behind his forceful exit from Dubai, who visited Arshad Sharif in Dubai hotel lobby and told him to leave, who directed the electronic media of Pakistan to portray the assassination of Arshad Sharif as an accident on 23rd October, 2022, who was Arshad investigating recently as a journalist and who was the most discussed topic in his last few vlogs,” he questioned in his written response.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2022

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