Islamabad: The Pakistan government on Tuesday decided to set up a judicial commission to probe the killing of prominent journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.
Sharif was shot dead in Kenya by the local police on Sunday night, with an official police statement later expressing regrets on the unfortunate incident .
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a video message announced to officially probe the killing after questions were raised in the media about the mysterious circumstances of his death.
Deploring the tragic incident, the prime minister also assured the entire nation that an independent probe would bring all facts about the killing to light.
I have decided to probe the killing and for this, I will ask the high court, he said, adding the government would seek approval from the Cabinet for it.
Pakistan’s powerful army had also asked the government to probe the killing.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also confirmed through a statement that a judicial commission would be formed to probe the killing.
She said that the head of the commission would also be able to appoint members from civil society and the media fraternity in order to ascertain the facts.
The decision to set up the commission follows a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday to order the formation of a judicial commission to investigate why the journalist was forced to flee Pakistan, and later the United Arab Emirates.
While accepting the petition for hearing, it directed the government to keep journalists’ bodies on board while it investigates.
After hearing arguments, the court adjourned the hearing for a week.
The journalist was a vociferous supporter of former prime minister Imran Khan and fled the country after his ouster from power in April.
The tragic killing reverberated internationally, with the US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price saying the United States was deeply saddened by Sharif’s death and demanded a probe.
We encourage a full investigation by the government of Kenya into his death. It’s not entirely clear that we know all the circumstances at this point regarding what led to his death, but we do urge a full investigation, he said during a regular press briefing.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office said the mortal remains of the late journalist are being repatriated from Nairobi and the body of the slain journalist would arrive in Islamabad at 1.05 hours tomorrow (Wednesday) night.
Sharif’s wife Javeria Siddique said in a tweet that her husband was coming back home in a coffin , adding that authorities in Kenya are answerable to us .
Sharif had been working for ARY News when he fled the country. He was a critic of the government and the establishment.
Dawn had reported that earlier this year, police had booked Sharif, ARY Digital Network President and CEO Salman Iqbal, Head of News and Current Affairs Ammad Yousaf, anchorperson Khawar Ghumman, and a producer for sedition over a controversial interview by PTI leader Dr. Shahbaz Gill broadcast on the channel on August 8.
The FIRs referred to Sharif’s comments in a conversation with journalist Matiullah Jan on his YouTube channel wherein he allegedly disrespected state institutions and uttered statements that attempted to spread hate in the army and create a hateful atmosphere .
Subsequently, Sharif left the country. The ARY Network later announced it had parted ways with Sharif without citing a specific reason but stating that it expects its employees’ conduct on social media to be in line with the company policy. —PTI