A senior journalist Arshad Sharif was murdered in Kenya under mysterious circumstances on Friday and ARY Chief Executive Officer Salman Iqbal expressed reservations about the investigation being conducted by the PML-N-led government. He called for an independent investigation to be overseen by the UN Human Rights Office.
A statement released by Salman Iqbal on Wednesday said he would cooperate fully with any independent investigation that aims to get to the bottom of Sharif’s murder “to bring those responsible to justice”.
The investigation into Arshad’s killing should include me. The PML-N government’s investigation is not independent, but I will answer any questions posed to me,” it stated.
Asserting that the allegations made against him by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah are “wild and baseless,” he called them a continuation of the smear campaign he has endured since the PML-N government became government.
“I assure you categorically that I had no involvement in the gruesome act against my brother,” Salman said, expressing shock that there had been no formation of a commission.
Rather, government officials have held multiple press conferences at which outlandish accusations implying that I am part of a conspiracy have been thrown around. This politicization of his death is disgusting,” he said.
Since being elected in April 2022, the government has been smearing me as a gold smuggler and arms dealer. Currently, the campaign is being carried out by government ministers under Maryam Nawaz’s leadership. In addition to numerous FIRs, arrest warrants, and a sedition case against me, I have been weaponized by the FBR, the FIA, PEMRA, and SECP.”
Asked why he has been unable to return home for six months, he expressed concerns about his safety due to the unwarranted attacks he has suffered and the persecution of journalists by the government of the PML-N.
Arshad Sharif was brutally murdered. Words cannot express my shock and heartbreak. Having lost Arshad, Pakistan and journalism around the world have suffered an enormous loss. His family, as well as everyone in mourning, are in my thoughts.”
As Salman repeatedly appealed to all relevant sectors of government for protection, he also stated that “we knew the threats were legitimate.”
Despite this, the journalist had to leave Pakistan due to multiple sedition cases, FIRs, and arrest warrants, rather than receiving help.
According to standard procedure, our offices helped him with his travel arrangements as friends and colleagues stood by him. Can we help our friends at all? ” he asked.
“Since the beginning of my career I have always done my utmost to protect my people, and they can vouch for this. It is not easy to be a journalist in Pakistan. All of us face various threats and it is my job to mitigate them. Over the years, we have lost many colleagues in our country’s war against terrorism, and we continue to support their families to this day,” he added.