By Bidisha Saha, Devvrat Pandey: In a video posted shortly before Imran Khan – the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and leader of the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) party, was arrested by Pakistani Rangers while appearing in court to face corruption charges, he talked about a person who he referred to as ‘brigadier’ or ‘Dirty Harry’. He claimed that this person had been behind the previous assassination attempts on him and that the same person was responsible for the murder of slain journalist Arshad Sharif, as alleged in a letter from his mother.
Sharif’s mother Riffat Ara Alvi penned a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial in December last year, requesting the formation of a high-chaired judicial commission to investigate the assassination of his son.
India Today’s OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) Investigations Team accessed the letter after scouring through pages of publicly accessible data from social media platforms like Reddit, to understand the intricacies of his murder and the allegations made by his mother. The letter highlights the grim circumstances under which journalist Arshad Sharif was shot after he became critical of Pakistan’s military for their involvement in the politics over the ‘No Confidence Motion’ which ousted Imran Khan in April last year.
His killing has raised suspicion of foul play among observers, politicians and journalists. Sharif, who was a fierce critic of the Pakistani government, fled the country after allegedly receiving death threats over his work. His whereabouts were not publicly known. Most of his friends knew only that he had spent time in Dubai and London, before being shot in Kenya.
The letter references to the ‘powerful military circle’ that was being investigated by Sharif including the then Chief of Staff (COS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Director-General of the ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum. Consequently, he started receiving death threats from Brigadier Muhammad Shafiq Malik a.k.a ‘Ganja Shaitan’(indicating his baldness), Brigadier Faheen Raza and DG(C) of ISI Major Gen Faisal Naseer.
It is Faisal Naseer a.k.a ‘Dirty Harry’ who is now at loggerheads with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan. Imran Khan has publicly accused him, along with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, of carrying out an assassination attempt in November last year in Punjab province’s Wazirabad, wherein he received three bullets in his leg.
He has alleged that the ‘top ISI officer’, who tried to kill him twice, was also involved in the brutal murder of the journalist, Arshad Sharif.
Earlier he also said that the Army chief is the most powerful person in Pakistan’s politics and everyone follows his decisions while slamming the military “circle” for siding with the country’s “corrupt mafias” to ensure that he should not return to power.
The ‘Dirty Harry’
Faisal Naseer was commissioned into the Pakistani Army in 1992. He was recently promoted in October from Brigadier rank to Major General. Naseer was also known as a ‘super spy’ for his role in Balochistan and Sindh.
Last year Major General Faisal was appointed DG(C), the defacto second in command of the ISI who handles internal security and counterintelligence-related matters. Currently, he is the highest rank in Pakistani military intelligence after the DG ISI.
His name was first introduced by the PTI(Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) leader when his close aide, Shahbaz Gill was arrested in Islamabad on August 2022. It was during this time, Imran Khan first referenced the character of ‘Dirty Harry’ who was allegedly behind the ‘fascist imported government.’
Recently, his name was again brought into the limelight after PTI leaders accused him of being behind the charges against Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case. This is one of the dozens of cases pending against the former prime minister since he was ousted from office last year.
It is alleged that Khan had received expensive gifts from rich Arab rulers during official visits that were deposited in the state repository Toshakhana. Later, he bought those at slashed rates following the law and sold them at enormous profits. He was accused of hiding the proceeds from the sale of precious gifts.
A timeline of Imran Khan’s arrest
– Imran Khan’s PTI came to power in 2018 amid widespread reports of election manipulation assisted by the establishment.
– He was eventually ousted on April 10, 2022, in a parliamentary no-confidence vote over allegations of “massive rigging”.
– He started rallying and led two “long marches”, one in May and the other in October. He protested over his removal from the apex position. Thousands of PTI supporters started thronging at Khan’s rallies.
– Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf sweeps Punjab in the by-election on July 18.
– On October 21, Pakistan’s election commission disqualifies Khan from running for public office for 5 years on charges of anti-terror law.
– Khan relaunches the “long march” from Lahore to Islamabad on October 28.
– On November 3, he escaped an assassination attempt in the Wazirabad district of north-eastern Punjab province during a public event and accused his successor, the current Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the Dirty Harry over the incident.
– On February 28, a district court in Islamabad issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Imran Khan after he skipped hearings in the Toshakhana case.
– On March 5, the police raided Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore and arrested dozens of workers of his party and claimed to have seized weapons and petrol bombs, hours after he left for Islamabad.
– Islamabad police said in a statement that he has been arrested in connection with the allegations that Bahria Town allotted land worth Pakistani Rupees 530 million to Al-Qadir Trust.
PTI supporters posted videos claiming that the house of the top ISI commander was set ablaze but there is no official confirmation yet.