The Arshad Sharif case is becoming murkier by the day as investigators have hinted at the transnational roles of characters in Dubai, Kenya, and Pakistan. As more discrepancies in the statements of the Kenyan police are coming to the fore, the Supreme Court has asked the government to form a special joint investigation team. The genral consensus seems to be that the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif was planned and targeted. Who the real culprits are is obviously to be investigated — though there is no end to the range of shady characters involved in this case. The five-member bench of the Supreme Court has received the investigation report contesting the version of the Kenyan police and clarifying somewhat that this was not a case of mistaken identity as the police in Kenya wanted everyone to believe. The role of Arshad’s former employer has also come under question.
In fact, there are innumerable questions that need answers. For example, who fired the nine bullets at the vehicle? What was Arshad Sharif doing In Kenya? What is the story behind his stay and departure from Dubai? What prompted the Kenyan police to give such bizarre explanations of the shooting? And who are Khurram and Waqar, reportedly playing host to Arshad Sharif in Kenya? Their statements have also been contrary to fact and logic, and their connections are also under question. One hopes that the suo-motu notice that the apex court has taken helps expedite this case so that there is some closure for Arshad Sharif’s family, friends and colleagues.
All this should lead to renewed attention to the safety and security of Pakistani journalists both nationally and internationally. While media organizations must take responsibility for training their professionals about their own safety, the government cannot absolve itself. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that journalists can perform their duties without any hindrance or threat to their lives. Protection of journalists must be a state priority everywhere in the world and any negligence in this matter must not be taken lightly. Journalists who have displayed independence and courage in the past have often been threatened. At the end of the day, journalism should never mean a journalist feeling so insecure that he or she is compelled to leave the country and run for their lives.
Source: The News