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Who was UAE official that visited Arshad Sharif’s hotel?

LONDON: An official of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government visited slain journalist Arshad Sharif in Dubai’s Millennium Hotel on 19 August 2022.

In a report written by Murtaza Ali Shah which was published in Geo news,  it said that the name of Salim Abdullah appears in papers in official papers prepared by Pakistani investigators ascertaining facts around the murder of Arshad Sharif, who was killed in Kenya on the 23rd of October 2022.

The two-member team – comprising FIA director Athar Wahid and IB deputy director general Omar Shahid Hamid – has written in a report that “one UAE official Mr Salim Abdullah reportedly met with Arshad Sharif at Hotel Millennium Al Basher, Al Bashra Dubai on 19 august (between 2pm to 4 pm UAE time)”.

According to the report, the Pakistani investigators have written to Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai to help Pakistani team in the identification of “Salim Abdullah” in coordination with the Dubai police. Arshad Sharif reached Kenya the following day on 20th of August on an invitation letter sent to him by Waqar Ahmad, whose brother Khurram Ahmad was driving him when he was assassinated. Waqar Ahmad has told the police he invited and hosted Arshad Sharif on Tariq Wasi’s request.

The Pakistani fact-finding team has written a second letter to the Dubai authorities to provide information which has not been shared with Pakistan till now despite two requests so far.

The fact-finding team has asked for a long list of things to assist in the inquiry: copy of visa and related travel documents issued to Arshad Sharif; identification of the places of residence of Arshad Sharif during his stay in Dubai from 10 August to 20 August; any CCTV footage of the premises; a mapping of the movement of Arshad Sharif during his stay in Dubai; any info regarding any persons that he met during his stay; clarification over whether Arshad Sharif’s visa was cancelled and if so why; Call Detail Record (CDR) of Arshad’s Dubai number he used during his stay; any data of arrivals and departures of Pakistani passport holders from 10 Aug to 20 August; and any information about whether any UAE govt officials met Arshad Sharif and asked him to leave the country.

The Pakistani team has written to the Consulate General in Dubai to coordinate with the UAE authorities and help obtain Call Detail Record (CDR) of Dubai numbers of Tariq Wasi and Salman Iqbal. Both of them have denied any involvement in the murder.

The fact-finding team has written a letter to Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating it visited Dubai on 14 November 2022 for a few days to investigate and requested the Consul General to coordinate with Dubai police for provision of data. “However, the requisite information/record has not been provided yet. It is therefore requested that the concerned authorities in UAE may be approached for provision of requisite data to complete the fact-finding proceedings as Supreme Court of Pakistan has given direction to submit the report,” it says.

The team has also revealed that it wanted to interview Mr Arsalan Satti, posted at the Consulate General in visa section, to appear before the team but Mr Satti didn’t show up. Pakistani investigators have now asked Mr Satti to appear before the team for questioning on 28 November 2022.

The fact-finding team has also written to police chiefs in Islamabad, Sindh and Balochistan to serve notices on those who had registered cases against Arshad Sharif and wo others.

The notices have been served on Ghulam Murtaza Chandio who registered FIR against Arshad Sharif in Islamabad; Ashiq Ali, Tayyab Hussain, Amir Ali and Abdur Rauf in Sindh and Muhammad Ayub, Shah Muhammad and another in Balochistan.

The FIA has also sent notice to Syed Tasneem Haider Shah who claimed that the assassination plot against PTI chief Imran Khan and slain senior journalist Arshad Sharif was made by the PMLN in London but he has accepted he has no evidence of any kind to prove his claims and that PM Imran Khan’s shooter has reached Kenya and belongings of Arshad Sharif have reached London.

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