Pakistani prime-time journalist Arshad Sharif has been killed in Kenya by police officers due to “mistaken identity”. Earlier reports suggested a sniper shot him, but the Kenyan police version later made the headlines. According to the police, they were on high alert due to a child kidnapping case. The child was reportedly recovered, but the car in which he was abducted was still missing. It was a KDJ number which was slightly similar to but different from Arshad’s KDG plate. Arshad was travelling with his brother Ahmed who was driving the car. The police reportedly tried to stop the vehicle at a roadblock based on suspicion, but it did not stop. Then they opened fire, killing Arshad with a headshot and leaving his brother heavily wounded. The survivor told the police that they were developers and were going to visit a site when they were attacked. Here is the press statement from Kenya’s National Police Services’ official social media handle.
Arshad was a vocal critic of the PMLN government, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and the military. He was in self-exile due to a crackdown against dissident journalists in Pakistan. He left the country in August to avoid arrest on sedition charges over an interview with Shehbaz Gill, a close aide for former prime minister Imran Khan. Gill made critical comments about the military, resulting in his detention and torture. Arshad also alleged receiving death threats and harassment from state institutions before moving to UAE and relocating to Kenya later. His untimely death has sparked an international debate, raising serious questions about who was behind the killing of Arshad Sharif.
The Details About the Killing of Arshad Sharif
The reports about the killing of a renowned journalist have been more doubtful than informative. There are speculations regarding various details pointing to a possible assassination. According to reports, the vehicle had 9 bullet holes on the passenger side of the windscreen and 2 bullet holes on the same side of the rear screen. On the driver’s side, there was 1 bullet hole in the door and 4 in the trunk, while one right-hand side tyre was deflated. It raised arguments about whether the fire was deliberately focused on the passenger, not the driver, who was supposedly the one to drive. Even an unnamed detective agreed that the police report was conveniently missing some vital ingredients necessary to prosecute the responsible party.
Something Powerful Behind the Attack
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) member and former Human Rights minister Shireen Mazari also took to the media to dismiss claims trying to portray the killing of Arshad Sharif as an accident. She reiterated the claims made by Arshad before going into self-exile. Due to the threats to his life, Arshad was forced to leave Pakistan and go into hiding in Dubai. However, Shireen claimed that “they” traced his location, so he had to leave Dubai as well. Critics raised questions if the same powers had traced him in Kenya too.
Mistaken Identity is Not a Credible Excuse
The International Human Rights Foundation (IHRF) took notice of the killing of Arshad Sharif and demanded an investigation. It dismissed “mistaken identity” as a credible claim and educated the Kenyan police about the lawful procedure to stop a suspicious vehicle. Instead of opening fire on the humans, the police are required to immobilise the vehicle by busting its tyres. IHRF added that the police should only fire in case of any hostility and not on non-violent civilians.