ARY News CEO Salman Iqbal on Friday called for an independent probe led by the United Nations into the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif, days after the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) asked for the former to be included in the investigation.
Former ARY News anchorperson Arshad Sharif was shot dead nearly a week ago by Kenyan police, which termed it a case of ‘mistaken identity’.
In a detailed note on his Twitter handle, Iqbal pledged his cooperation in the probe to ‘bringing those responsible to justice’.
He also ruled out independent probe by the ruling PML-N government, nonetheless agreeing to answer any questions put to him. Iqbal asked for an ‘independent investigation’ overseen by the UN Human Rights Office, saying that he would completely cooperate with any such investigation.
Iqbal also took Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to task for his allegations, calling them ‘wild and baseless’, and went on to point at the ‘smear campaign’ being run against him ever since the PML-N came to power.
My statement. #ArshadSharifShaheed @UNHumanRights #pfuj pic.twitter.com/7D2o58ng7t
— Salman Iqbal ARY (@Salman_ARY) October 28, 2022
“Let me say categorically that I had no involvement whatsoever in the gruesome act against my brother,” he said, and criticized the way he was being accused of it.
While responding to the notion about forcing the journalist to leave Pakistan, he said, “As friends and colleagues, we stood by him and his choices, so following standard procedure our offices helped him with his travel plans. Since when is helping a friend a crime?” he asked.
The ARY News CEO also claimed he had raised the issue of the late Sharif’s safety with relevant quarters, adding that the latter was instead targeted with cases of sedition, FIRs and arrest warrants, forcing him to leave the country.
He said the government had also been running a ‘smear campaign’ against him since April 2022, when they came into power, and had tried to embroil him in various FIRs and arrest warrants.
Iqbal also said, “These unwarranted attacks on me and the persecution of journalists by the PML-N government have left me fearing for my safety and unable to return to Pakistan for the past six months”.