Senior journalist Arshad Sharif, who fled the country after he was charged with sedition, died in Kenya's Nairobi after reportedly being shot, confirmed his wife early Monday.
“I lost friend, husband and my favourite journalist today, as per police he was shot in Kenya,” Javeria Siddique, his wife, tweeted
I lost friend, husband and my favourite journalist @arsched today, as per police he was shot in Kenya.— Javeria Siddique (@javerias) October 24, 2022
Respect our privacy and in the name of breaking pls don't share our family pics, personal details and his last pictures from hospital.
Remember us in ur prayers. pic.twitter.com/wP1BJxqP5e
The 49-year-old journalist fled the country in August to avoid arrest after he was slapped with multiple cases, including sedition charges over an interview with PTI leader Shahbaz Gill during which the latter had made controversial comments.
Alleging threats to his life, Mr Sharif had moved to Dubai in August and later relocated to Kenya.
The untimely death of the journalist sent shock waves across rights organisations, the media fraternity and civil society and prompted calls for thorough investigation and disclosure of facts.
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 spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
He said that the US respected the right to free speech and condemned those who violated it.
Similarly, the United Nations called for a thorough investigation of the circumstances in which the senior journalist was shot and killed in Kenya.
"I saw the tragic reports about the incident," UN Secretary-General's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in response to a question at the regular noon briefing at the UN Headquarters in New York. He hoped the Kenyan authorities would investigate the matter.
Read IHC orders secys interior, foreign to 'immediately' meet slain journalist Arshad Sharif's family
Briefing the media on the shocking development, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Pakistan's ambassador to Kenya, Syeda Saqlain, Kenyan police officials and doctors are currently at the mortuary in Nairobi where the ambassador has identified Sharif's body.
The minister also said that after identification, the process to repatriate the deceased has been initiated, while the Kenyan authorities have been requested to complete the regulatory process as soon as possible.
In a press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressing deep sorrow over the “untimely death" of Arshad Sharif also confirmed that the body had been identified by Pakistan's high commissioner in the country.
It maintained that the high commissioner accordingly contacted the police authorities and senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other departments. The office of the vice president was also contacted for confirmation.
IHC seeks report
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also sought a report from the interior and foreign ministries on the alleged assassination of the senior journalist.
An application seeking a probe into the matter had been filed with the high court by Arshad’s lawyer Barrister Shoaib Razaq, requesting the formation of a judicial commission to dig out the circumstances which lead to his killing, why he had to leave the country and then who forced him to leave the United Arab Emirates.
The court also ordered the relevant authorities to take the necessary steps required to ship Sharif’s body to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of Pakistan has also decided to write a letter to the Kenyan government for legal action on the alleged murder of journalist Arshad Sharif.
Kenyan president assures 'all-out help'
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has held a telephone conversation with Kenyan President William Ruto following the tragic killing of the journalist.
Just had a telephonic call with Kenyan President William Ruto about the tragic death of Arshad Sharif in 🇰🇪. I requested him to ensure fair & transparent investigation into shocking incident. He promised all-out help including fast-tracking the process of return of the body to 🇵🇰— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) October 24, 2022
During the call, the premier requested the Kenyan president to "ensure a fair and transparent" investigation. The prime minister added that the Kenyan president has promised all-out help, including the fast-tracking of the body's repatriation.
Condolences pour in
Journalists, politicians, including President Dr Arif Alvi, and colleagues have expressed deep sorrow over the journalist’s death.
President Dr Arif Alvi termed Sharif’s death a loss for journalism and Pakistan. “May his soul rest in peace and may his family, which includes his followers, have the strength to bear this loss,” Alvi said.
Arshad Sharif’s death Is a great loss to journalism and Pakistan.— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) October 24, 2022
May his soul rest in peace and may his family, which includes his followers, have the strength to bear this loss
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وانا الیہ راجعون
My brother my friend a great patriot and a courageous journalist arshad sharif is assassinated in Kenya..i am speechless …no words to express grief and sorrow— Sami Abraham (@samiabrahim) October 24, 2022
Arshad Sharif, not just a colleague, a brother, is no more. From Islamabad to Moscow, from Dunya News to ARY, I’ve not known a finer gentleman.— Meher Bokhari (@meherbokhari) October 23, 2022
Shot dead. Too young. Too brutally.
Still can not wrap my head around it
No words right now. Arshad Sharif the truth cost you your life. pic.twitter.com/XiIqiiqRjk— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) October 23, 2022
I am deeply saddened by 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.— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) October 24, 2022
#ArshadSharif was a fearless journalist and softhearted person. The tragic incident must be investigated and truth be shared with the Nation.Arshad Sharif lived a short but unforgettable life. He always challenged the mighty powers.May Allah grant him the highest place in heaven— Shahbaz Rana (@81ShahbazRana) October 24, 2022
Stunning, horrific news about Arshad Sharif, a top Pakistani journalist, killed while in Kenya.— Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) October 23, 2022
Unbelievable! Never expected things to reach this level! Sitting at Arshad's home, May Allah bless his soul and destroy families of these criminals! It was a sniper shot in head; who is forcing media to report this as "accident"?. It was murder, targeted killing by an Assasin! https://t.co/QxzPUoLTnt— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) October 23, 2022
Shocked at the brutal murder of Arshad Sharif who paid the ultimate price for speaking the truth - his life. He had to leave the country & be in hiding abroad but he continued to speak the truth on social media, exposing the powerful. Today the entire nation mourns his death.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 24, 2022
PTI chief Imran Khan said he was shocked at Sharif’s death.
He said the journalist had “paid the ultimate price for speaking the truth - his life. He had to leave the country & be in hiding abroad but he continued to speak the truth on social media, exposing the powerful. Today the entire nation mourns his death.”
Imran called for an investigation into Sharif’s death using the journalist’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 & expose wrongdoing,” he added.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he was deeply saddened. He offered condolences and prayers for the journalist’s family.
The military’s public affairs wing also issued a condolence message on the “unexpected death” of the senior journalist.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari strongly condemned Sharif’s killing.
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