In a first, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG Major General Babar Iftikhar and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum held a press conference to discuss journalist Arshad Sharif’s killing, Imran Khan’s confrontational narrative against the military, as well as a variety of other related subjects.

Why it matters?

The head of Pakistan’s top spy agency spoke to the media in person for the first time in the nation’s history.

Gen Nadeem added that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been “specially briefed” about the press conference’s sensitivity, “This press conference is being held in the framework of giving facts so that “truth, fiction, and opinion can be identified,” he said. Additionally, the chief added that it was important to identify the causes that led to the structuring of a certain narrative and its deception.

The cypher:

Gen Iftikhar continued by stating that Sharif’s reputation as an investigative journalist stemmed from the fact that he did numerous programmes on the infamous cypher which PTI head Imran Khan has claimed to be proof of a foreign plot to overthrow his government. Iftikhar added that Khan was the subject of multiple meetings and interviews, “It is necessary to ascertain the details surrounding the cypher and Sharif’s passing, ” he said. Gen. Iftikhar stated that the encryption had already been discussed with Imran on March 11 and it was concluded that ‘it is not a big deal.’ 

Sharif’s killing:

The top officers claimed that according to their reports, Sharif was not in danger in Pakistan. According to Lt Gen Anjum, the journalist had ties to the establishment and members of Sharif’s family were officers who died in the line of duty, “He continued to communicate [with the regime] even after leaving the country. In order to conduct a “fair investigation, intelligence agents had been withdrawn from the investigation teams,” adding that the DG ISPR will inform Pakistanis of whatever conclusion is reached.