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Pakistan’s powerful spy agency comes out of the shadows to deny role in the killing of a high-profile journalist in Kenya

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Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif speaks at an event on June 22, 2022.
Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif speaks at an occasion on June 22, 2022.

  • Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif was shot useless in Kenya in what police stated was a case of “mistaken identity.”
  • His widow and former PM Imran Khan allege it was a focused killing due to his criticisms of the army.
  • In an unprecedented transfer, Pakistan’s spy agency held its first-ever press convention to deny the claims.

The head of Pakistan’s spy agency gave an unprecedented press convention to deny it was accountable for killing a high-profile Pakistani journalist in Kenya.

The chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, spoke to the media on Thursday alongside a army spokesperson to tackle Sharif’s killing.

It was the first time that the head of the ISI had ever straight addressed reporters in Pakistan’s historical past, in accordance to the native Dawn newspaper.

Arshad Sharif, an investigative journalist identified for being crucial of Pakistan’s powerful army, was shot useless by Kenyan police on Sunday night time.

Kenyan police stated that the killing was a case of “mistaken identity” in a mix-up with one other automotive linked to a baby abduction case, Al Jazeera reported. 

Al Jazeera reporter Catherine Soi famous that it was “not clear how police mistook the number plates of these two cars, which are completely different.”

Sharif fled Pakistan in August after he confronted sedition prices following an interview with a shut aide of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in which the aide made feedback deemed to be offensive to the army.

Sharif is believed to have had a shut relationship with Khan, who was ousted from energy in April after he appeared to have lost the support of the military.

The army has dominated the nation for over half of its historical past and is considered as the main powerbroker behind the scenes.

The shadowy ISI spy agency, which has shut ties to the army, has lengthy been accused of supporting terrorist groups that assault its neighbors, manipulating elections, and abducting and killing journalists. It has regularly denied all of the allegations.

Ousted Prime Minister Khan stated that Sharif’s loss of life “highlighted an ongoing targeting of anyone who dares to criticize or question those holding power,” per Al Jazeera.

Media representatives shout slogans during a protest in Karachi on October 24, 2022, against the killing of Pakistani news anchor Arshad Sharif in Kenya.
Media representatives shout slogans throughout a protest in Karachi on October 24, 2022, in opposition to the killing of Pakistani information anchor Arshad Sharif in Kenya.

Sharif’s widow Javeria Siddique additionally stated that she believed it was a “target killing.” “Journalism is not a crime. Please raise your voice,” she stated in a video message.

Pakistan has a lengthy historical past of suppressing the media and is ranked 157 out of 180 international locations in a press freedom index by Reporters with out Borders.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has demanded an inquiry into Sharif’s loss of life. It stated in a assertion to Al Jazeera: “A long, grim record of violent tactics to silence journalists explains why the reported murder of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya has sent shock waves through the journalist community.”

Pakistan’s ISI and army deny duty for the killing

Lt. Gen. Anjum denied that ISI and the army had something to do together with his loss of life and stated that they’d “no personal enmity” with him, per VOA News.

Military spokesperson Lieutenant General Babar Iftikhar stated that Sharif’s loss of life was an unlucky incident and requested that judgments not be made till a two-member inquiry committee investigating the circumstances of his loss of life returned their report.

During the press convention, the pair doubled down on their criticisms of Khan however denied having taken motion to take away him from energy.

“The army had an intense internal discussion. We reached the conclusion the country’s interest lies in us restricting ourselves to our constitutional role and remaining out of politics,” Anjum stated, per VOA.

Sharif’s funeral was held in Islamabad on Thursday and drew crowds of up to 30,000, an Islamabad police officer estimated to Al Jazeera.

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