Kenyan police have expressed regret over killing Pakistani investigative journalist Arshad Sharif, saying it was a case of “mistaken identity” during a search for a similar car involved in a child abduction case.
According to local media reports, the 49-year-old journalist was killed on Sunday night when the car he was travelling in was fired upon by police after it failed to stop at a checkpoint outside the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. He was accompanied by another Pakistani Khurram Ahmed, who was wounded in the incident.
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Sharif was critical of Pakistan’s powerful military, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 75 years since independence. He left his country in August after sedition charges were filed over an interview with an opposition politician during which comments deemed offensive to the military were made.
The ARY news channel for which he worked as an anchor for eight years cut ties with Sharif after it was briefly taken off air in August following the controversial interview of Shahbaz Gill, a close aide of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The killing has stunned journalists in Pakistan, who have demanded a detailed probe into the incident.
Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi, reporting from Nairobi, said it would be interesting to see more details on the police findings as such cases are rarely made public.
“The police say officers were pursuing another vehicle … It is not clear how police mistook the number plates of these two cars, which are completely different,” Soi said.
Body on way to Pakistan
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said Sharif’s body was being transported out of Kenya and will arrive in Pakistan later on Tuesday.
On Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is not related to the slain journalist, spoke with Kenyan President William Ruto about the incident.
Pakistani diplomats attended the Nairobi airport when the plane with Sharif’s remains took off.
Sharif’s family said his funeral will be held in Islamabad on Thursday.
His whereabouts were not publicly known, and most of his relatives and friends knew only that he had spent time in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and London, England.