My name is Somiya Arshad, I’m the wife of Shaheed Arshad Sharif. Arshad used to do his program on ARY news with documented evidence. He was a credible journalist and his credibility was unquestionable. He was on good terms with the military since last 15 years. He covered all military operations on the ground but after the regime change operation, things changed As Arshad became critical of the individuals in military doing illegal acts by interfering in politics. He was raising critical questions such as: who gave the NRO 2, which wasn’t taken well by the powerful. His program, ‘Wo Kon Tha’ on 31st May 2022 on ARY News channel is an example of this. This program was perceived as against General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa and DG ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum and this message was conveyed to Arshad by General(retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa through various sources as he believed that the program was against him. Arshad started receiving numerous threats, first from Brig Muhammad Shafiq Malik of ISPR and then later from Brig Faheem Raza of ISI, who even called him in ISI sector HQ Islamabad to convey him the message of Maj Gen Faisal Naseer DG (C) ISI. He was told to change his stance however, Arshad refused as he believed in independent journalism, freedom of expression, and the right of people to know. Brig Faheem Raza started sending threats via Col Rizwan and Col Nouman of ISI. In his last meeting with Col Nouman of ISI at our home, he told Arshad that whatever he is telling him is coming from the top, and whatever Arshad is saying will also be conveyed to the top.
He also warned him of dire consequences if Arshad did not stop with his stories. General Bajwa wanted Arshad to stop these programs (Investigative stories) and this message was conveyed to Arshad through various sources.
The Situation was so grave the Arshad got to know through various credible and reliable sources that instructions were sent to an inteligence Officer in Rawalpindi to assasinate Arshad, but the officer was not willing to carry out the order and had to face the consequences. Arshad did not specifically mention any name of that intelligence officer to me.
Arshad had to restrict his movements due to the intensity of the threats. Motorcycles and cars used to follow him everywhere. They used to ring house bells as well to harass and intimidate Arshad and his family. 16 FIRs were lodged on the false and frivilous charges of sedition and treason against him in different provinces of Pakistan including the Federal Capital Islamabad in connivance with Federal and Provincial Govt of the said provinces to arrest him and to further torture and humiliate him.
After the said threats Arshad wrote letters to various institutions which included honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan, COAS, DG ISI, President of Pakistan, Minister for Interior, Minister of Defense, DG IB, IG Islamabad and etc. No action was taken and the magnitude of threats increased, compelling him to leave Pakistan.
On 9th August 2022, another FIR was registered against Arshad and he also started recieving reports of plans to get him assasinated in Pakistan through his numerous reliable sources, he told us that some assasins were following him and he has to leave Pakistan for safety. He wasn’t spared in Dubai even. Arshad told me that they were after him there as well. After about 10 days of stay in Dubai, officials of Dubai Govt told him to leave Dubai immediately. He was not left with many options as the visa was refused which forced him to go to Kenya. He was staying with a family there (Khurram and Waqar). Arshad was also fired from ARY news as this was the condition set for restoring ARY News back on air. After staying for two months at Kenya he applied visa for Dubai on 12 October 2022 which was rejected. Arshad went to Dubai many times before as well but neither was his visa rejected nor he was forced to leave. It happened this time only. This is not possible without connivance of Pakistan’s military leadership which enjoys excellent relationship with UAE Governemnt. The role of ISI Deputy Director Arslan Satti who is posted at Pakistan’s Embassy in UAE must also be investigate fully in this regard.
On 23rd October 2022 his premeditated murder took place, The facts I am mentioning in my statement were idsclosed to me by Arshad Sharif during his life. The names of the people mentioned above should be investigated as Arshad started getting threats after he started doing programs on regime change. Earlier everything was fine. He also wrote letters to different law Enforcement Authorities including COAS General Bajwa, DG ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum, Minister of Interior Rana Sana Ullah, Minister Of defense etc. but their malicious and invlovement stopped them from taking action. The roles of both the military especially the people mentioned above should be investigated along with PML-N’s involvement in the murder since without the Government’s assistance this wouldn’t have been possible. Nonetheless, despite knowing the intensity of the situation, which Arshad himself mentioned as well, nothing was done to provide him security hence showing the malevolent intent of the people stated above which stopped them from taking action. After looking at the fact finding report it is established that FIR’s against Arshad were registered on the directions of ISI officials. it is also established that ISI Sector Commander Islamabad Brig Fahim was in contact with Waqar in Kenya.
After the killing, numerous efforts were made by powerful circles to distort facts, create confusion and derail the investigation. Arshad was having genuine life threats in Pakistan and all those who made these threats in Pakistan are the one’s responsible for his murder because he did not stop his work even after leaving Pakistan and he was forced to leave Dubai for Kenya. Arshad’s body’s pictures were also leaked to anchorperson Kamran Shahid of Dunya News by the same powerful circles to create terror and fear among the jourlnalist community and a silent message was sent that anyone not obeying us will end up in the same fate. As national and transnational elements are involved in this case and conspiracy to kill Arshad Sharif was made before killing himm therefore it is requested that apart from sention 302 and 34 PPC, Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 should also be included in FIR.