ISLAMABAD: Those close to the investigations in the brutal killing of senior TV anchorperson Arshad Sharif in Kenya and the members of the medical board that conducted the autopsy of the slain journalist at a Islamabad hospital were surprised to find a “piece of metal”, later declared as a bullet, from the body that had been transported to Pakistan reportedly after his post-mortem in Nairobi on Tuesday night.
The authorities had decided to carry out a forensic examination of the “metal piece” recovered from Arshad Sharif’s chest, believing that it could definitely help determine the type of the weapon used in the incident.
According to the sources, the eight-member medical board of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), which conducted the autopsy on Oct 26, had handed over the “piece of metal” to the police for further investigations, stating that this recovery of the bullet could provide a crucial lead to the investigations into the murder surrounded by mystery and controversies.
“This metal piece is actually a bullet and it is surprising that those conducted the autopsy on Arshad’s body in Nairobi had left it inside the body,” said one of the sources, associated with the investigations.
According to him, under the standard operating procedure, bullets were never left inside the body after the autopsy and its recovery had made the post-mortem conducted by the authorities in Nairobi doubtful.
He said the bullet has now been removed from the body and handed over to the investigators for a forensic examination. The test, he said, would help determine the type of the weapon used in the incident and then it might prove helpful in identifying the killer(s).
“Now the weapon is in Kenya and the bullet is in Pakistan,” he said, adding that as a result the matching of the bullet with the weapon would become a difficult task until these were combined at one place.
Giving further details, he said, the autopsy showed that Arshad Sharif had received bullets on his chest and head and the wound mark on the chest showed that the bullets had been fired from behind and from a close range.
“There is a bullet injury at front side of the body, which might be an exit point of another bullet,” he said, adding that a mild-blackening was found around the bullet injury at the backside of the chest which could happen only if the bullet was fired from close range — with a distance of four feet or less.
A bullet injury was also found at the upper part of Arshad Sharif’s skull, the sources said, adding that a significant part of his skull had been found smashed.
The sources said the recovered bullet would either be sent to a forensic science laboratory in Islamabad or the Punjab Forensic Science Agency in Lahore.
A final decision in this regard, they said, would be made on Saturday (today). They said the samples taken from various body parts, including heart, lungs, liver, spleen and stomach, had already been sent to the forensic science agency in Lahore for pathology and toxicology tests.
Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer of ARY News TV channel Salman Iqbal has categorically refuted the allegations of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan about his role in Arshad’s murder and termed it ‘part of a campaign against him’ by the PML-N government.
“The wild and baseless allegations recently levelled against me by the interior minister in relation to Arshad’s killing are a continuation of this campaign. Let me say categorically that I had no involvement whatsoever in the gruesome act against my brother,” said Mr Iqbal through his official Twitter handle.
Mr Iqbal said under the present PML-N government, he had no confidence in any investigation and called for a probe through the UN Human Rights Cell. “I am calling for an independent investigation overseen by the UN Human Rights Office, and I will of course provide my full cooperation to any such investigation seeking to get to the full truth behind the killing of Arshad Sharif with a view to bringing those responsible to justice,” he said.