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Tuesday, June 25, 2024  
18 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Arshad Sharif’s body arrives today, Islamabad braces for protest

Journalist was traveling from Nairobi to Magadi posing as developer
The Kenyan media while quoting the police headquarters said that an Independent Policing Oversight Authority would take over the case. PHOTO FILE
The Kenyan media while quoting the police headquarters said that an Independent Policing Oversight Authority would take over the case. PHOTO FILE
The wooden coffin containing the body of journalist Arshad Sharif is loaded into a courtesy van at the Chiromo mortuary in Nairobi, Kenya, October 24, 2022. Reuters
The wooden coffin containing the body of journalist Arshad Sharif is loaded into a courtesy van at the Chiromo mortuary in Nairobi, Kenya, October 24, 2022. Reuters
Unidentified Pakistani embassy officials talk to a police officer at the Chiromo Mortuary, following the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif on October 24, 2022. Reuters
Unidentified Pakistani embassy officials talk to a police officer at the Chiromo Mortuary, following the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif on October 24, 2022. Reuters
Pakistan High Commissioner to Kenya Saqlain Syedah leaves the Chiromo Mortuary, following the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, on October 24, 2022. Reuters
Pakistan High Commissioner to Kenya Saqlain Syedah leaves the Chiromo Mortuary, following the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, on October 24, 2022. Reuters

Journalist Arshad Sharif’s body will be flown to Pakistan from Kenya today, Tuesday and he will be laid to rest in Islamabad’s H-11 graveyard on Thursday.

The PTI is planning to demonstrate a massive show of power on the occasion and the federal government is preparing for the protest. In order to maintain law and order, Sindh police and FC contingents have been stationed in Islamabad. Around 6,000 police personnel are staying at police line headquarters, while 2,666 FC men are being housed in the veranda of Faisal Mosque and Haji camp.

TV personality Imran Khan Riaz posted this on Twitter as he said he headed towards the airport with the body:

US calls for full investigation by Kenyan govt

When a reporter from Sharif’s former organisation asked US State Department spokesperson Ned Price about America’s message to the Pakistani leadership to fulfill their commitments regarding press freedom on Monday, he called for a full investigation.

“We’re deeply saddened by the death of Arshad Sharif. We encourage a full investigation by the Government of Kenya into his death. It’s not entirely clear that we know all the circumstances at this point regarding what led to his death, but we do urge a full investigation,” he said.

He expressed condolences to Sharif’s colleagues, his loved ones, and family members. “We’re deeply saddened by the death of Arshad Sharif.”

The reporter claimed that the slain journalist had called him the day before yesterday. And Sharif wanted to renew his US visa from Dubai, UAE, but it was rejected. “So, sir, is there any kind of – special kind of thing that you – like have those kind of journalists or people who just, like, facing death threats and apply for the visa?” he asked.

“It’s difficult for me to speak with any specificity regarding what we could do with a particular individual, but we have programs around the world in the first instance to bolster protections for those who are exercising what is another universal right, the right to freedom of expression, the right to information,” Price said, “And it’s clear through his work that Arshad Sharif was dedicated to that fundamental right of freedom of expression – took him around the world. His work was known around the world.”

Citizen TV Kenya, a news channel, reported that deep inside Magadi in Kajiado County, sits Kwenia farm, located 40km off Magadi road where Sharif was said to be frequent.

The farm owned by Sharif’s friend hosts a hotel and a shooting range. Sharif left Kwenia farm while in the company of his brother Khurram Ahmed on October 23, the staff who work there said.

“But the journey back to Nairobi was cut short, at Kamukuru-Maram road within Magadi. A hail of bullets rain on the vehicle, killing the renowned journalist,” it added. The vehicle was sent to the Kiserian police station.

The incident raises several questions, according to Citizen TV Kenya.

  • Did the police attempt to stop the vehicle and did the occupants defy the orders?
  • Why did the police open fire and yet the occupants were not shooting at them?
  • Why didn’t the police shoot the vehicle’s tyres to immobilize it instead of lethal force?
  • Why did the police aim at the passenger and not at the driver?
  • Why did the police open fire and yet there was a child allegedly on board the vehicle that was reportedly carjacked?
  • If the vehicle was common on that road then what caused the mistaken identity?
  • How did the police confuse a KDG 200M [the car in which Sharif was travelling) and KDJ 700F?
  • What was the colour and model of the vehicle that was carjacked?

Kenyan police admission

National Police Service Kenya has admitted that a police officer shot Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif dead.

“NPS regrets to announce an incident that occurred last night (…) where a foreign national namely Arshad Muhammad Sharif was fatally wounded by a police officer,” the Kenyan police said in a statement on Twitter, adding that the incident followed the circulation of a stolen motor vehicle.

“Deceased’s motor vehicle came upon the road barrier which they drove through. It is then that they were shot at,” the statement added.

Earlier a leading newspaper in Kenya has reported that Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif was shot dead by local police after his driver failed to stop at a roadblock.

Sharif, who went into a self-imposed exile recently, was killed in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. His death shocked everyone in Pakistan after it was reported at around 3am on Monday.

Sharif’s wife Javeria Siddique and several former colleagues, including anchorperson Kashif Abbasi, confirmed that he was shot dead.

PTI leader Shireen Mazari claimed Sharif was taken out by a sniper.

However, The Star Kenya has tried to piece together the course of events after speaking with police officials.

‘Killed in case of mistaken identity’

Arshad Sharif was shot dead along the Nairobi-Magadi highway on Sunday night in a case of mistaken identity, the Kenyan police said, according to the newspaper.

“Arshad Sharif was shot in the head and killed by police after he and his driver allegedly breached a roadblock that had been set up to check on motor vehicles using the route. They were driving from Magadi town to Nairobi when they were flagged down at a roadblock being manned by a group of police officers,” police said.

“At the roadblock, there was a call for police to intercept a car similar to the one they were driving following a carjacking incident in Pangani area, Nairobi where a child was taken hostage. And a few minutes later, Sharif’s car emerged at the roadblock and they were stopped and asked to identify themselves,” the police said.

They allegedly failed to stop and drove past the roadblock, prompting a brief chase and shooting that left Sharif dead. “Their car rolled and his driver was injured and taken to hospital. He later told police he and his slain colleague were developers and were headed for a site in Magadi.”

The newspaper said that an Independent Policing Oversight Authority would take over the case.

 This map of Nairobi region shows three key locations, Pangani area where a child was taken hostage and a carjacking took place, Nairo city region and Magadi Road that leads out of the city.
This map of Nairobi region shows three key locations, Pangani area where a child was taken hostage and a carjacking took place, Nairo city region and Magadi Road that leads out of the city.

A senior police officer confirmed the shooting to the news outlet, adding that a “comprehensive statement” would be released later.

“We had an incident of shooting which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity involving a journalist. We will release more information later,” the officer said.

Moreover, a Kenyan journalist claimed that the body of Arshad was found at Kenya’s Chiromo Mortuary, 78 kilometres from where the police said the shooting happened.

“The body appears to have two gunshot wounds. Pakistan Embassy officials on site,” he said in a series of tweets.

“Further details now show that #arshadShariff motor vehicle was shot at NINE times,” he said, alleging that four of those bullets hit to the left side of the vehicle.

“Official police report now says; #ArshadSharif and his brother Khuram found the road blocked ’with small stones and they decided to pass it, it was then that they heard several gunshots. The report does not say WHO was fring the shots,” he said.

“One bullet deflated the right side tyre.”

Another, Kenyan journalist Eliud Kibii alleged that the police statement on the Arshad Shariff killing has too many gaps. “First, if it was a case of a stolen vehicle, the number plates of the stolen car and the one Arshad was are different. They don’t say the make.

“By the time of the incident, the abducted son had been found,” he said in a tweet.

Pakistan in touch with Kenya: Sanaullah

The government was in touch with the Kenyan government to find out the facts about the incident, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said in a tweet. He added that the Pakistani embassy in Nairobi was providing full support in the case of the slain journalist.

“What happened to Arshad Sharif in Kenya is sad. The government shares the grief of bereaved family,” he said.

Earlier, PTI leader Shireen Mazari claimed that Sharif was taken out by a sniper.

Before leaving Pakistan, Sharif was working for private-run ARY News TV station where he hosted a talk show Power Play centered around politics in Pakistan.

Condolences pour in

President Dr Arif Alvi described Sharif’s death as “a loss” for journalism and Pakistan. “May his soul rest in peace and may his family, which includes his followers, have the strength to bear this loss,” Alvi said.

Reacting to this, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that he was “deeply saddened” and offered condolences and prayers for the bereaved family.

“I am deeply saddened by the shocking news of journalist Arshad Sharif’s tragic death. May Allah SWT grant him a place in Heaven,” he said in a tweet.

Kashif Abbasi, his colleague at ARY News, took to Twitter late Sunday night to say that Sharif had been shot dead in Keyna. “My brother,my friend my colleague arshad shareef was shot dead in Kenya..I still can’t believe it. It’s beyond heart breaking.this is just wrong.. this is painful.. I love u brother,” he wrote.

ARY News CEO Salman Iqbal also confirmed the death and said, “I still can’t believe it. I am speechless. May Allah SWT grant him highest place in Jannah. Aameen.

Who was Arshad Sharif

Arshad Sharif was 49 years old and from a military family. He was born in Karachi in 1973 to Mohammad Sharif, who retired from the Pakistan Navy as a commander.

Sharif became a journalist in 1993 while still a student. He worked for English newspapers The News and Dawn before joining private-run TV channels one after the other. In 2012, he won an Agahi Award.

In 2019, Sharif was awarded Pride of Performance for his contribution to journalism by President Arif Alvi.

His brother Ashraf Sharif was a major in the Pakistan Army. In 2011, when Mohammad Sharif died of cardiac arrest, Ashraf was deployed in Bannu and left for Rawalpindi when he heard about his father’s demise. He was killed in a car crash.

Leaves Pakistan

Arshad Sharif was in the news in August when police booked several ARY News journalists after PTI leader Shahbaz Gill made a controversial statement about the military in a live phone-in conversation on TV.

Gill was arrested and charged with inciting the personnel of the armed forces to mutiny.

Although other ARY News journalists, named in the FIR against the TV, stayed in Pakistan, Sharif left the country.

Days after his departure, ARY News issued a statement to announce that it was parting ways with Sharif.

Arshad Sharif was spotted in London soon after leaving Pakistan. It was not immediately clear what brought him to Nairobi.

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