Nairobi police say Pakistani journalist killed by mistake

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NAIROBI, Kenya — A senior Pakistani journalist residing in hiding in Kenya was shot and killed by police after the automobile he was in sped up as an alternative of halting at a roadblock close to Nairobi, the police mentioned on Monday. They mentioned it was a case of “mistaken identity” throughout a search for the same automobile concerned in a case of kid abduction.

Arshad Sharif, 50, left Pakistan in July to keep away from arrest over criticizing the South Asian nation’s highly effective navy. He was additionally a critic of the federal government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who has repeatedly mentioned he believes in freedom of the media.

Nairobi police mentioned Sharif was shot within the head and killed on Sunday night time after the automobile he was in along with his brother, Khurram Ahmed, drove by a roadblock arrange on the Nairobi-Magadi freeway to verify automobiles alongside the important thing route. They had been touring from the city of Magadi to the Kenyan capital.

The 2 ignored police orders to cease and sped up. “They did not stop and proceeded with the journey,” the police mentioned. Police opened fireplace and laid chase, throughout which the automobile flipped over.

Sharif’s spouse Javeria Siddique confirmed that her husband was killed in Kenya. His brother’s situation was not instantly recognized.

Sharif left Pakistan in July to keep away from arrest following a citizen’s criticism in opposition to him on allegations of maligning the nation’s nationwide establishments, a reference to the navy. His whereabouts weren’t publicly recognized; most of his associates knew solely that he had frolicked in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and London.

Nairobi police mentioned the Unbiased Policing Oversight Authority will take over the case for additional investigation.

“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 senior Kenyan police officer mentioned earlier, talking on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not licensed to talk to the media.

In response to police, the roadblock was set as much as discover and intercept a automobile much like Sharif’s following a carjacking within the Pangani space of Nairobi, the place a toddler was taken hostage.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Sharif, who shouldn’t be associated to the slain journalist, the nation’s navy and different senior officers in Pakistan expressed their condolences.

A month after he left Pakistan, the non-public ARY Tv fired Arshad Sharif, saying he had repeatedly criticized the navy on social media in violation of the TV station’s coverage. His discuss present POWERPLAY, which aired on Mondays and Thursdays, was discontinued.

The station had earlier within the yr remained vital of Pakistan’s prime minister following the ouster of his predecessor, Imran Khan, in a no-confidence within the parliament in April. Khan claims he was ousted beneath a U.S. plot, a cost each Washington and the Pakistani authorities deny.

On Monday, Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf get together and its senior leaders, together with Fawad Chaudhry, condemned Sharif’s killing and demanded an in depth investigation. Khan additionally visited Sharif’s residence in Islamabad to precise his condolences to the household.

A court docket in Islamabad in August requested Pakistan’s intelligence company and police to cease harassing Sharif after the journalist, by his lawyer, petitioned the court docket, saying his basic rights had been being violated by safety forces. Police and the federal government on the time confirmed that Sharif is being sought in a criticism case however mentioned no motion had been carried out to arrest Sharif.

Pakistan has lengthy been an unsafe nation for journalists. In 2020, it ranked ninth on the Committee to Defend Journalists’ annual World Impunity Index, which assesses international locations the place journalists are frequently killed and the assailants go free.

Ahmed reported from Islamabad.

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