Pakistan journalist killed in Kenya was ‘targeted’, says official

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah says the killing of Arshad Sharif in Kenya last month appears to be a targeted attack.

Arshad Sharif
Sharif’s remains were brought back to Pakistan last month and he was buried on October 27 with thousands of people in attendance [File: Waseem Khan/Reuters]

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif appears to have been the victim of a targeted killing in Kenya, and not an accidental shooting.

Sharif, a well-known TV journalist, was shot dead on October 23 near the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in unclear circumstances.

Kenyan media reported that the incident took place near the Nairobi-Magadi highway when police ordered a vehicle to stop, but it continued to speed away.

Police reportedly opened fire, which resulted in the death of Sharif and wounded the driver Khurram Ahmed, another Pakistani man who was accompanying Sharif.

The police expressed “regret” over the shooting, which they said was a case of “mistaken identity”, and a police watchdog said it would carry out an investigation.

Sanaullah said on Tuesday that evidence suggested Sharif was killed in a “targeted” attack.

“We have sought briefing from the inquiry team which visited Kenya and from the information they gave, it looks like this was a targeted attack, and not a case of mistaken identity,” Sanaullah told a press conference in Islamabad.

The minister said further investigation into the incident was required to ascertain facts, adding the government has requested Kenyan authorities to share more information.

There was no immediate comment from Kenyan authorities.

Sharif’s remains were brought back to Pakistan last month and were buried on October 27 with thousands of people in attendance, chanting slogans and demanding the arrest of his killers.

The death of Sharif, a prominent news anchor in Pakistan, came two months after he fled the country.

Sharif was long associated with the news channel ARY and was considered close to the country’s military establishment, which has been in power in Pakistan for more than half of the 75 years since independence.

However, after the removal of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government in April through a parliamentary vote of no confidence, Sharif became critical of the military.

He faced sedition charges in August in relation to an interview that he conducted with Khan’s close aide and that the military deemed offensive, after which Sharif left the country.

Following the killing, the Pakistani government ordered the formation of a two-member committee, which flew to Kenya to conduct a probe.

Lieutenant General Babar Iftikhar, the director general of the military’s media wing, said that it is yet to be determined who was behind the killing.

“We have to wait for the report from the inquiry commission. Until the report is released, it is not appropriate to make allegations,” he said during a press conference before Sharif’s funeral in Islamabad.

Source: Al Jazeera