PTI leader Faisal Vawda on Wednesday claimed that journalist Arshad Sharif’s murder was “pre-planned” and “conspired in Pakistan”, adding that the evidence of the crime has been erased.
Sharif was shot dead in Kenya allegedly by the local police on Sunday night, with an official police statement later expressing “regrets on the unfortunate incident” and saying an investigation was underway.
Initially, Kenyan media quoted the local police as saying Sharif was shot dead by police in a case of “mistaken identity”.
However, amid widespread condemnation and condolences, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced on Tuesday that a judicial commission would be formed to probe the journalist’s killing.
In a press conference at the Islamabad Press Club today, Vawda vowed to reveal the truth behind Sharif’s killing. “No evidence or Arshad’s mobile or laptop will be found because they have been erased.
“This is a cold-blooded planned murder,” he alleged, saying that he was in contact with the journalist since the day Sharif left the country.
“It is being said that around 20 bullets were shot and Arshad Sharif was killed. But this did not happen. According to me, he was shot from inside the car or close range. He received 2 bullets, in the head and chest, not 20 bullets.”
Vawda claimed that the story regarding a child’s kidnapping surrounding the journalist’s murder was false, saying that if a child was present in the car, why would the police open fire.
“This was cold planned brutal murder just of Arshad Sharif in this car, not anyone else.”
The PTI leader said that he won’t name the people involved in the crime. “I have made a video and have given names of those people […] I have given those names internationally. I have given millions of dollars. I have a clear message, if I am shot and killed then you’ll be killed too.”
He went on to claim that the “conspiracy [regarding the journalist’s murder] began when FIRs (first information reports) were lodged against Arshad Sharif”, alleging that the journalist was not ready to leave the country.
“The conspirators scared him and made him desperate to leave the country. He then reached Dubai and it was said that the establishment or an unnamed institution put pressure to get him out […] but this is also false and a lie.
“He stayed in Dubai as per the visa limit, when it expired then he had to leave. The diversion to London was told but he didn’t go there,” Vawda claimed.
He said that Arshad Sharif was steadfast in his stance and no one could buy him. “In the coming days I will uncover all the curtains. I have told my family if something happens to me then as gifts you will get their bodies too.
“No normal person could have sent Arshad Sharif to Kenya. Who hid him and was in contact with him in Kenya? Behind it are those conspirators and liars who want to break the country, break my party and damage this country,” he alleged.
Vawda also claimed that the establishment had been in contact with Arshad Sharif. “He was ready to come back to Pakistan. He had no issue. Then fear was set in that let’s get him killed so the evidence will be gone and fire will erupt.
“Now you all will ask me, how do I know all this and why. When Arshad Sharif went from this country, from that day to the last days, I was in contact with him and my phone is available for forensic analysis,” he said.
The PTI leader continued that the players of the “conspiracy in Pakistan” were present inside the country and were “internationally connected”.
“Arshad Sharif was murdered. He had no danger from here, the establishment which we take the name of, had positive contact with him and I was part of that,” he further claimed and warned that he would take the names of the perpetrators in the upcoming days.
“Establishment has no role in this killing, the role of the one will be apparent in coming days,” he reiterated.
Separately, Vawda also claimed that the PTI’s upcoming long march to Islamabad would be a “bloody” one with “bodies falling” and the deaths of innocent people.
He alleged that this too was a part of a conspiracy like the one to kill Sharif. “Imran Khan’s peaceful march is our right but I’m clearly telling you I’m seeing blood, deaths and funerals in this march.”
Vawda went on to say that he would not allow innocent people to “die for some conspiracy and I will try that this game of [dead] bodies comes to an end”.
Vawda said the predicted bloodshed could happen before, during or after the long march.
He maintained that the PTI’s “justified” march had become part of a conspiracy.
“The powerful personalities who are part of this conspiracy are not far from me. Today I’m standing with truth and justice. I will continue to stand with Pakistanis who are about to die in the coming days. Important personalities and many bodies are about to fall in the coming days.”
Following the press conference, PTI issued a show-cause notice to Vawda and suspended his party membership until he submits his response to why he “grossly violated discipline by giving statements against party policies and guidelines”.