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Arshad Sharif’s Kenya visit visa was sponsored by Nairobi businessman

Slain journalist Arshad Sharif’s visit visa to Kenya was sponsored and he didn’t get the entry visa on arrival, immigration authorities in Kenya have said

By Murtaza Ali Shah
November 03, 2022
Slain journalist Arshad Sharif. Twitter
Slain journalist Arshad Sharif. Twitter 

KENYA, NAIROBI: SLAIN journalist Arshad Sharif’s visit visa to Kenya was sponsored and he didn’t get the entry visa on arrival, immigration authorities in Kenya have said.

The authorities involved in the murder investigation of Arshad Sharif have told the Geo News here that Arshad arrived in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, on a visit visa after he was sponsored by a businessman from Nairobi.

The News understands that the sponsor letter to visit Kenya was sent by Nairobi-based property developer Waqar Ahmed, brother of Khurram Ahmed who was driving Arshad Sharif’s car on the fateful night of October 23rd when Arshad Sharif died in a hail of bullets rained on him by the Kenyan police in a deserted area.

This reporter understands that Waqar Ahmed arranged a visit visa for Arshad Sharif on the request of a Dubai-based British Pakistani, who asked Khurram and Waqar to make arrangements for Arshad Sharif’s stay in Nairobi.

It has been claimed that Arshad Sharif was forced out of Dubai and chose Kenya because it was amongst those countries that offered visa on arrival to Pakistani nationals. While there is little doubt that Arshad Sharif faced threats to his life over his critical views and left Pakistan at the start of August this year in a hurry from Peshawar to Dubai, immigration authorities here shared that Kenya no longer offered on-arrival entry to Pakistani passport holders and the record showed that Arshad Sharif reached the African country on a sponsored visit visa.

A source shared: “Arshad Sharif’s visa was sponsored. He reached Nairobi on a visit visa. He applied for e-visa to enter the country and attached a sponsor letter with his application as well as a copy of the return ticket, his employment contract and the place of residence and local contact number.”

A Pakistani diplomat here told the Geo News that the Kenyan immigration ministry had confirmed to Pakistan that Arshad Sharif was on a visit visa in Kenya and staying here legally. Those carrying American and British passports also have to obtain a visa to enter the country. A Kenyan immigration official shared that on-arrival visas were issued only in exceptional circumstances and this didn’t apply to Sharif’s case as he entered the country without any issue.

Both Waqar and Khurram have been questioned by Pakistan’s investigation team — FIA Director Athar Wahid and Intelligence Bureau (IB) Deputy Director General Omar Shahid Hamid — to ascertain the facts. “I met Arshad Sharif only once and that too at a dinner,” Waqar Ahmed told the investigation team, adding that he had invited the senior journalist for a meal at his lodge outside Nairobi. “On the incident day, Arshad had a meal with us at our lodge. After the meal, he left with my brother Khurram in a car and half an hour later there was a report of firing on the vehicle,” he told the team.

The two brothers told the Pakistani investigating officers that the slain journalist was planning to move to Nairobi and for that, he extended his visa too. A source here shared that it was true that Arshad Sharif’s initial visa was for one month and then he got it extended. He arrived in the Kenyan capital on August 20 and died on October 23 in a shootout in which Khurram survived miraculously.