A storm is raging after police in Kenya kílled an acclaimed Pakistani investigative journalist, Arshad Sharif, who was in the country. The explanation cited in an article by the Star, quoting a police officer stating that it was a case of mistaken identity, in particular, has many in Pakistan up in arms – with claims of foul play dominating the discourse.
It has also put police in Kenya on the spot, coming against the backdrop of the recent disbandment of a dreaded DCI unit believed to be behind extrajudicial killíngs in the country. According to civil society group the Missing Voices Coalition, Kenya lost 219 lives to extrajudicial killíng and enforced disappearance in 2021, attributed to police. They claimed Nairobi’s Pangani police station took the lead in misconduct, misuse of force, harassment and the killíngs.
Police say there was a call for police to intercept a car similar to the one Sharif was in following a carjacking reported in Pangani, Nairobi where a child had been taken hostagé.
According to Police, Sharif was reportedly shôt in the head after he and his driver allegedly breached a roadblock. They were driving from Magadi town to Nairobi before being flagged down at a roadblock manned by several officers. The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) is expected to address the matter, which immediately sent shockwaves across Pakistan.
Sharif was previously associated with Pakistani news channel ARY News.
Confirming it, Sharif’s wife tweeted: “I lost friend, husband and my favourite journalist [Arshad Sharif] today, as per police he was shôt in Kenya.” She further urged members of the public to respect their family’s privacy and to keep them in their prayers.
Among those who condoled with his family were Pakistan’s President and Prime Minister Dr Arif Alvi and Shehbaz Sharif respectively. Alvi described Sharif’s death 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 stated.