PM Shahbaz speaks to Kenyan president to request early completion of formalities and repatriation of mortal remains
Senior journalist and anchorperson Arshad Sharif was shot dead in Kenya by the local police just months after he fled his home country to avoid sedition charges.
Kenyan police said that the journalist was shot in a "mistaken identity" case. According to a police report seen by AFP, a car carrying Sharif and another man was struck by around nine rounds Sunday night as it crossed a makeshift roadblock in a remote area some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
The report did not say who fired at the car but said the pair carried on to the home of another Pakistani national.
There, Sharif was found to be dead "with a gunshot wound on the head which had penetrated from the back".
The report said police at the time had been on the lookout for a stolen car and an abducted person. It did not say how this may have been connected to Sharif's death.
A press statement was also released by the Office of the Inspector-General National Police Service in Nairobi, Kenya, in which details related to the incident were provided.
"NPS regrets to announce an incident last night along Kwenia farm/ Kamukuru maram road with Magadi, Kajiado, where a foreign national namely Arshad Muhammad Sharif, aged 50, was fatally wounded by a police officer while a passenger in a motor vehicle KDG 200M. At the time of the incident, the deceased was in the company of his brother namely Khurram Ahmed."
"Incident follows a circulation from Pangani Police of a stolen motor vehicle. The officers trailing the motor vehicle towards Magadi alerted police in Magadi who erected a road barrier," the statement added.
Foreign Office says the government is actively engaged with the Kenyan authorities at multiple levels for speedy repatriation of the mortal remains of Sharif.
In a statement, the FO spokesperson said that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has spoken to President of Kenya William Ruto to request early completion of formalities and repatriation of the mortal remains.
The Kenyan president conveyed their deepest condolences on the tragic incident and assured complete investigations and repatriation of the body at the earliest.
The statement said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Pakistan High Commission in Nairobi remain in constant contact to facilitate and expedite the process.
It said that Pakistan has also formally requested the Kenyan government to hold an investigation into the incident.
The acting foreign secretary Raza Bashir Tarar has also met the Kenyan High Commissioner in Islamabad to impress upon the importance of the matter and urgent repatriation of the mortal remains.
The news of his demise was confirmed by his wife: "I lost friend, husband and my favourite journalist today, as per police he was shot in Kenya," Sharif´s wife Javeria Siddique tweeted Monday.
Taking to Twitter, Siddiqui said Kenya’s police told her that Sharif was shot dead in Nairobi, while further investigation is underway.
Sharif’s wife also urged people not to share their family pictures, personal details, or Sharif’s last pictures from the hospital on social media.
Pakistan´s foreign ministry also confirmed the death.
Pakistan is ranked 157 out of 180 countries in a press freedom index compiled by Reporters without Borders, with journalists facing censorship and intimidation.
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.
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.
Former prime minister Imran Khan said he was shocked over the brutal murder of Sharif, saying the journalist paid the ultimate price for speaking the truth.
Khan called for a proper judicial investigation to examine Sharif's own statements as well as other evidence.
“We have descended into a state of brutality, unknown in civilised society, indulged in by the powerful against those who dare to criticise [and] expose wrongdoing,” he wrote on Twitter.
Following the news of Sharif's death, condolences started pouring in from across the country.
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.
President Arif Alvi said his death is a great loss to journalism and Pakistan.
The Inter-services Public Relations (ISPR) expressed deep grief over the sad demise of the journalist.
In a statement, the military's media wing prayed may the Almighty grant higher ranks to the deceased in the hereafter and patience to his family.
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.
Salman Iqbal, the owner of the ARY Group, also extended his condolences.
“Unbelievable. May Allah rest the soul of Arshad Sharif in peace. Ameen,” journalist Hamid Mir tweeted.
ARY News anchorperson Kashif Abbasi said Sharif's death was heart-breaking and painful.
Meanwhile, PTI's Asad Umar and Senator Azam Swati, too, expressed their condolences.
Journalist Kamran Khan said the news of Sharif's death was "astonishing", calling for an investigation into the killing.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) termed it a "long, grim record of violent tactics to silence journalists"
It urged the government to pursue an immediate, transparent inquiry into the circumstances of Sharif's death.