Relatives Arshad Sharif arrive at a hospital to see his remains in Islamabad on October 26, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: United Nations and the United States have urged Kenya to conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of prominent Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif and share the findings with the public.

“I saw this tragic report of his death. I think the circumstances need to be investigated thoroughly, and the Kenyan authorities said they would,” Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary General told journalists in New York. He also said that the results of the investigation should be “shared quickly.”

Washington also urged Kenya to investigate the killing. “We’re deeply saddened by the death of Arshad Sharif. We encourage a full investigation by the government of Kenya into his death,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

Expressing condolences to Arshad’s colleagues, family members, and all those who knew him, Price said that “And it’s clear through his work that Arshad Sharif was dedicated to that fundamental right of freedom of expression. His work was known around the world.”

France-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also condemned Sharif’s murder in unclear circumstances in Kenya as “gruesome and utterly disturbing”, calling for an international investigation.

The Foreign Press Association Africa (FPA Africa) said it is “deeply disturbed” by Sharif’s killing, especially the circumstances in which he died. “Sharif’s death has robbed the media fraternity globally of a dedicated and forthright journalist,” FPA Africa said in its statement. The organization called on authorities in Kenya to investigate the incident and assure “foreign journalists based in the country and covering Africa, including those who visit on assignment and other professional undertakings that they’re safe.”

Imran playing a dangerous game: Shehbaz
Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said that Imran Khan was playing a “dangerous game” by using Arshad Sharif’s killing for petty politics and casting aspersions on state institutions.
“Imran Niazi is playing a dangerous game. He is using tragic killing of Arshad Sharif for petty politics and going to the extent of casting aspersions on state institutions,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter, prior to concluding his visit to Saudi Arabia where he attended an investment summit, offered Umrah and paid respects at Roza-e-Rasool (Peace Be Upon Him).
The prime minister urged the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan to be patient and wait for findings of Judicial Commission instead of resorting to the baseless allegations.
On Tuesday, the prime minister had decided that Arshad Sharif’s killing in Kenya would be probed by a high level judicial commission for what the government would request the Islamabad High Court to designate a judge for the purpose.
He also assured the nation for a transparent probe into the tragic incident and bringing forth the facts to the nation.

Pakistan forms body to probe killing

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has also urged Kenya’s President William Ruto to speed up investigations of murdered Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif. Pakistan’s government has formed an investigation team, including Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) representatives, to probe the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya. The team will travel to Kenya and will present its report as soon as possible.

Sharif’s lawyer, Shoaib Razzaq, has called on the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to form a judicial commission to investigate why the journalist had to leave the country. Sharif left Pakistan in August.

Sharif’s remains arrive in Pakistan

There were emotional scenes at Islamabad airport where the remains of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, who was shot and killed by Kenya police on Sunday, arrived on early on Wednesday. His family, friends, colleagues, as well as Islamabad citizens, received the flag-draped casket in tears and paid their respects to the late celebrated journalist. Mourners also showered rose petals on the ambulance carrying his remains to the hospital. “My Arshad is back, but in coffin,” his wife Javeria Siddique said on Twitter. Grief mixed with anger as Sharif’s loved ones mourned him and urged the authorities to take swift action. The circumstances of Sharif’s death sparked widespread outrage in Pakistan and calls for a thorough investigation.

The family said Sharif would be laid to rest on Thursday at the H-11 cemetery after funeral prayers at 2 pm at Islamabad’s Shah Faisal Mosque.

How he died?

Sharif was shot in the head in Kenya by the local police, who said it was a “mistaken identity” case. The official police statement later expressed “regrets on the unfortunate incident” and said that an investigation was underway. Police said they fired shots after Arshad and his driver allegedly breached a roadblock. The incident took place on October 23 night along the Nairobi-Magadi highway. Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), a civilian watchdog, is investigating the killing. However, Kenyan media have raised questions about the Kenyan police’s claims about the killing. Kenyan journalist Eliud Kibii said the police reports had “too many gaps” and failed to satisfy independent observers.

Who was Arshad Sharif?

Born in Karachi in 1973, Arshad Sharif was a popular Pakistani broadcast journalist, best known for his in-depth and investigative reports. His current affairs programme ‘Power Play’ on ARY News, from 2014 and September 2022, made Arshad Sharif a household name across the country. He had more than two million followers on Twitter and was recently reporting via his YouTube channel.