Arshad Sharif’s death was a case of “planned assassination”: report
The killing of Arshad Sharif, the renowned Pakistani journalist that was gunned down by Kenyan police in late October, was a “planned assassination”, a team of Pakistani investigators said in a report this week.
Sharif was shot dead on October 23 in a bizarre case of alleged mistaken identity.
Reports by multiple local media outlets said he was shot in the head along the Kiserian-Magadi road after a police chase.
Police later said the car he was in was believed to have been stolen, and that Sharif and a compatriot failed to stop at a road block.
The Pakistani government however deployed a team of investigators to Kenya on a fact-finding mission, which ended earlier this month.
In a 592-page report, the two-man team found several contradictions in the version given by Kenyan authorities. They pointed out that their findings led them to believe that the scribe’s killing was a case of premeditated murder.
As part of their probe, the Pakistani officials had traveled to Kenya where they met with police and Sharif’s hosts, brothers Khurram and Waqar Ahmed.
“Both the members of the (fact-finding team) have a considered understanding that it is a case of planned targeted assassination with transnational characters rather than a case of mistaken identity,” said the report, copies of which were submitted to Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
“It is more probable that the firing was done, after taking proper aim, at a stationary vehicle,” it said.
The report further suggested the bullet that fatally wounded Sharif was fired from either inside the car or from close range.
Sharif had been living in exile at the time of his death, and was believed to have been working on an investigative piece on graft when he met his death.
Sharif had stayed in the United Arab Emirates after leaving Pakistan in August and before traveling on to Kenya.
Kenyan police are yet to respond to the report, but a statement by police spokesperson said their probe is still underway.
“The investigation into the matter is still ongoing, so there is not much I can tell,” said Resila Onyango, the Kenya National Police spokesperson.