Prominent Pakistani Journalist Killed by Police in Kenya

Published: 26 October 2022

Magadi Kenya

The incident occurred in the town of Magadi, located around 100 kilometers south of Nairobi. (Photo: Gpkp, Wikimedia, License)

By Josef Skrdlik

A Pakistani journalist who had been a fierce critic of the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was killed in Kenya by police on Sunday night in an alleged mistaken identity case. His death sent shockwaves across Pakistan.

Kenya’s National Police Service, which reported the incident, claimed that local policemen were chasing a stolen vehicle. They were to erect a road barrier, which was ignored by Arshad Sharif’s car.

“The deceased’s motor vehicle came upon the police barrier which they drove through. It is then they were shot at, fatally injuring Arshad Sharif,” said the press release.

Sharif was accompanied by his Pakistani friend, Khurram Ahmed, who was wounded but survived the incident.

The journalist left Pakistan in August to avoid arrest after he was charged with sedition following his interview with former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s close aide, in which he made comments perceived as offensive to the military.

Sharif was known to have stayed in Dubai and London but it was not immediately clear what he was doing in Kenya.

Previously, he criticized Shehbaz Sharif — who replaced Imran Khan in the prime minister’s office after a no-confidence vote in April — for corruption and money-laundering.

In 2020, Pakistan’s Federal investigation Agency filed a money laundering case against Shehbaz Sharif and his two sons, accusing them of laundering US$200 million abroad between 2008-2018. However, they were acquitted earlier this month.

Shehbaz Sharif’s elder brother, Nawaz Sharif, who had also served as Pakistan’s prime minister, was in 2018 sentenced to 10 years in prison on corruption charges related to purchase of real estate in London.

Last week, the deceased journalist appeared in a trailer to a documentary Behind Closed Doors about the Sharif family, where he describes what appears to be a corruption scheme involving Shehbaz Sharif and his sons.

Shehbaz Sharif, who earlier expressed deep sadness over the incident, announced on Tuesday on Twitter forming a judicial commission to hold an inquiry into the case.

Kenyan police is notorious for brutality and excessive use of force. Missing Voices of Kenya, a group that monitors police killings, has recorded 1,286 such incidents since 2007.