Pakistan’s prime minister Shehbaz Sharif wants Kenya to move fast and bring to book those responsible for the murder of award-winning investigative journalist Arshad Sharif. Sharif was killed on Oct.23 near Kiserian town, some 30 kms from the capital Nairobi. He was 50.
Sharif, a critic of Pakistan’s military and government acts, left the country in August to avoid arrest, after his Powerplay TV talk show was discontinued by ARY Television for its unrelenting criticism of the current regime.
He initially went to Dubai, but was forced to flee due to alleged harassment by Pakistani officials.
Kenyan police say Sharif, who was being driven by his host’s brother Kurram Ahmed, was killed by police officers after his driver defied orders to stop at a roadblock. Sharif was shot at the back of his head with the force of the bullet being so powerful that it came out at the front.
The car was shot at 17 times. Initial investigations are pointing to a case of mistaken identity with Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority saying it is investigating the murder. Reportedly, the number plate on the car Sharif was traveling in, was similar to that of a car that was involved in a kidnapping.
On Twitter, Pakistanis are mounting pressure on president William Ruto’s new government to prosecute the killers.
Media unions in Nairobi have also denounced the killing. In a statement, the Kenya Editor’s Guild wants the government “to quickly and thoroughly investigate the case to determine the cause and reason for the killing.”
The Kenya Union of Journalists sent out a press release demanding the “immediate arrest of the officers involved in this incident and charge them in court.”
Local investigative journalist John Allan Namu condemned the killing, saying that “no journalist should ever have to pay this price for his work.”