Pakistan Institute of Management (Pims) director Dr Khalid Masood said on Friday that only a forensic report could confirm if journalist Arshad Sharif was tortured before being shot dead.
Sharif was shot dead in Kenya on the night of October 23 allegedly by the local police. Initially, the Kenyan media quoted the local police as saying Sharif was shot dead by police in a case of “mistaken identity”.
But later reports from the Kenyan media reconstructed the events surrounding the killing, stating that an occupant in Sharif’s car at the time of his killing was believed to have shot at paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) officers.
While investigations are under way to probe Sharif’s death, several TV channels claimed on Wednesday that Sharif was tortured and shot at close range after he was asked to step out of his car.
News broadcasts showed images that allegedly showed bullet marks and signs of torture on the body, claiming that the postmortem report mentioned signs of torture.
In an interview with DawnNewsTV today, Masood said that it could neither be “confirmed nor denied” that the journalist was tortured. However, he confirmed that Sharif’s nails were “removed” and his body was bruised.
“We still haven’t received the post-mortem report from Kenya […] so we can’t say if the nails were removed for forensics purposes or if it was torture,” the doctor said, stating that only forensics report could confirm if Sharif was tortured.
“Only the medicolegal team can give an expert opinion about the nails being removed,” Masood added.
He also said that the hospital had sent photographs of the bruises on Sharif’s body for forensics as well.
Separately, in an interview with Geo News journalist Shahzeb Khanzada last night, Masood gave further details on the matter, saying that the medical team that conducted Sharif’s post-mortem in Pakistan found 12 bruises on his body. “For example, his right wrist has bruise marks […] for example four nails from his right hand are missing […] there is a bruise on the left hand’s index finger.
“So, it [the medical team] has identified 12 spots […] all these things have been sent for forensics […] only the forensics [report] will be able to tell if torture took place or not,” he said, cautioning that Sharif’s case was very sensitive and all the things needed to be proven technically.
In response to a question, Masood reiterated that the board had not yet received a post-mortem report from Kenya. “If we get a post-mortem report from Kenya officially […] that what have they taken from which body part […] whether they have taken the nails […] this is also possible.”
The doctor also said that a preliminary medical report had been provided to the “concerned quarters” — SHO of the Ramna police station. “Neither Sharif’s mother nor his wife came to us […] his wife first submitted an application for a postmortem but she never reached out to us after that […].
“It is their right. If they come to us […] this is their right and we will give it to them,” Masood added.