Senior journalist and anchorperson Arshad Sharif was shot dead by the police Sunday night in a “mistaken identity” case while traveling to Nairobi from the country’s Magadi town, reported Kenyan newspaper The Star citing law enforcement officials.
“We had an incident of shooting which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity involving a journalist. We will release more information later,” a police officer told The Star.
The report published on its website stated that Sharif was shot in the head and killed by police after he and his driver allegedly breached a roadblock.
The publication, citing police, said that the manned roadblock had received information to intercept a car similar to the one, Sharif and his driver was in, following a carjacking incident in Nairobi in which a child was allegedly taken, hostage.
The Star reported that Sharif was asked to stop for identification but he allegedly drove past the roadblock. This led to a brief chase and shooting that left the journalist dead, it added.
The Kenyan publication said that Sharif’s driver was injured and taken to hospital. It added that the driver told the law enforcement officials that he and Sharif were developers and headed for a site in Magadi.
The police headquarters have said that Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority will investigate the case. While a senior police officer shared that a comprehensive statement will be released later.
The news spread in Pakistan after Sharif’s wife Javeria Siddiqui took to Twitter and confirmed the tragic news, acknowledging that her husband was killed in Kenya.
Local police have initiated a probe and are investigating the matter, the sources said.
Before the confirmation from his wife came to the fore, some earlier reports had indicated that Sharif had died in an accident.
Sharif was previously associated with ARY News and had gone to Dubai after resigning from the channel. Before going to Kenya, he was spotted in London a few days back after arriving from Dubai.
‘Pakistan in contact with Kenya’
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed sorrow over the death of the journalist and said that the Pakistani government is in contact with Kenyan authorities in this regard.
“The unbelievable incident of journalist Arshad Sharif’s murder is extremely shocking and an irreparable loss to the journalist community of Pakistan.”
“I offer my condolences to journalist Arshad Sharif’s family, journalist community, and his fans,” said the foreign minister.
IHC issues notice to interior and foreign ministries
Earlier today, a petition was filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) asking the court to form a panel to ascertain facts related to Sharif’s death.
Petitioner Barrister Shoaib Razzaq sought the formation of a commission to determine under which circumstances Sharif had fled the country. He also urged the court to issue orders to bring the body of the journalist back to Pakistan.
During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the petitioner where the body of the journalist was currently. At this, the judge was told by the lawyer that it was in Nairobi, Kenya.
Following this, the judge issued notices to the interior and foreign secretaries. He also ordered officials from both ministries to meet the journalist’s family and submit a report by tomorrow.
Condolences pour in
Following the news of Sharif’s death, condolences started pouring in from across the country.
President Arif Alvi termed Sharif’s death a “great loss to journalism and Pakistan”.
“May his soul rest in peace and may his family, which includes his followers, have the strength to bear this loss,” tweeted the president.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed sadness over the “shocking news of journalist Arshad Sharif’s tragic death”.
“May Allah SWT grant him a place in Heaven. My deep condolences and prayers for the bereaved family,” he said.
PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences over the death of journalist Arshad Sharif. PML-N leader Hina Pervaiz Butt extended heartfelt condolences on the demise of the journalist, while PTI leader Ali Zaidi also expressed his grief on the death of Sharif.