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Pakistani Journalist Shot By Mistake By Nairobi Police, Kenyan Authorities Say


Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif
Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif

A prominent Pakistani journalist who was living in Kenya was shot and killed by police after the vehicle he was in sped up instead of stopping at a roadblock near the capital, Nairobi.

Police on October 24 described the fatal shooting of Arshad Sharif as a case of “mistaken identity" during a search for a similar car involved in a case of child abduction.

Sharif, 49, an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, had been living in Kenya after leaving his home country to avoid arrest on sedition charges. He was also known as a supporter of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary no-confidence vote in April.

Earlier, Sharif’s wife said on Twitter that her husband had been shot dead in Kenya. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the incident.

Nairobi police said Sharif was fatally shot in the head late on October 23 after the car he was traveling in with his brother, Khurram Ahmed, drove through a roadblock set up on the Nairobi-Magadi highway to check vehicles along the key route.

The two ignored police orders to stop and sped up, the police said. Police opened fire and chased the vehicle, during which Sharif's car flipped over, they added.

A Kenyan police watchdog has said it is investigating the incident.

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and other prominent figures and organizations offered condolences to the journalist’s family.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan called for an investigation into Sharif’s death, saying the journalist “paid the ultimate price for speaking the truth.”

Washington also urged Kenya to investigate.

“We're deeply saddened by the death of Arshad Sharif. We encourage a full investigation by the government of Kenya into his death," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

In August, Pakistan’s ARY news channel aired Sharif’s interview with opposition politician Shahbaz Gill, who said junior officers in the armed forces should not follow orders that went against "the will of the majority.”

The comment led to the news channel being briefly taken off the air and an arrest warrant being issued for Sharif. He left the country.

The news channel later said it had "cut ties" with the journalist. Gill was detained following the interview.

Criticism of the security establishment has long been seen as a red line in Pakistan, which has been ruled by the military for several decades of its 75-year history.

Pakistan is ranked 157th out of 180 countries in a press freedom index by media watchdog Reporters without Borders, with journalists facing censorship and intimidation.

With reporting by AFP and

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