Arshad Sharif, a critic of the Pakistani army, was shot and killed in October 2022 outside Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The 49-year-old journalist was in exile after leaving the country in August to avoid being arrested as a result of many cases, including sedition charges brought against him for remarks he made on his show that was deemed disrespectful to the military. Nairobi police later professed apologies for the event after the assassination, claiming it was a case of “mistaken identity” while looking for a similar car involved in a child kidnapping case.
A team of Pakistani investigators stated later in December 2022 that the murder of the investigative journalist was a “planned assassination.” According to the 592-page report of the investigators, the Kenyan police made conflicting statements after the murder. The two Pakistani officials had traveled to Kenya as part of the investigation, where they spoke with the police and Sharif’s hosts, brothers Khurram and Waqar Ahmed. Their lawyer has said they “were not involved” and that they are also fearing for their lives. It was unclear from the report whether it thought Khurram’s account was suspicious.
Read more: HRCP honors late Arshad Sharif with human rights award of 2022
Again, without going into detail or providing proof to back up the claim, it only stated that the Kenyan police were ostensibly “used as instruments” in the murder, maybe in exchange for money or other benefits. There was no immediate response from Kenya, and the report provided no supporting proof for its assertions. It avoided naming names, stating simply that somebody in Kenya, Dubai, or Pakistan may have played a part in the murder. According to the investigation, Sharif was fatally struck by a bullet that was either fired from within the automobile or at close range. The report again failed to explain anything.
While Arshad Sharif Murder JIT reaching Kenya is good step, but lets be clear that motivations against Arshad & schemers of Arshad's Murder are in Pakistan; without bold & honest investigations inside Pakistan JIT will only be a "Diversion" https://t.co/ExTLEDpJb5 via @YouTube
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) January 15, 2023
A joint investigation team (JIT) was subsequently established by the federal government to look into the murder of Arshad Sharif. Led by the Islamabad Police Deputy Inspector General and officials from the Federal Investigation Agency, the Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence, and Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s most potent military intelligence organization. Chief Judge Umar Ata Bandial of Pakistan’s Supreme Court also declared in December that he had “taken suo moto notice” of Sharif’s assassination. He then established a panel of five judges, consisting of himself, Judge Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Mandokhel, Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar.
In recent developments, the Supreme Court has requested that the foreign ministry approach the UN for assistance. Also, the team looking into Arshad Sharif’s death was notified that Kenyan authorities were denying them access. According to JIT chief Owais Ahmed and AAG Rehman, Kenya was not assisting the investigation since Pakistan was not given full access to the crime scene. The court was also informed that Arshad Sharif’s iPad and phone were in Kenyan custody. The CJP instructed the foreign ministry to investigate the reasons behind the Kenyan authorities’ reversal of their original commitment to cooperation. It was then decided to postpone the hearing until the first week of March.
Read more: Fact-finding report on Arshad Sharif’s murder reveals alarming details