Pak journalist’s killing in Kenya a pre-meditated murder, says report

A committee assembled by the Pakistani government to look into the shooting of a prominent Pakistani journalist in Nairobi claims it uncovered various inconsistencies in the account provided by Kenyan officials and believes it to be a case of premeditated murder.

In October, a gunman shot and killed TV journalist Arshad Sharif in Nairobi after he had fled Pakistan due to threats to his life.

Kenyan officials said it was a case of mistaken identity and police hunting car thieves opened fire on his vehicle as it drove through a roadblock without stopping.

In a 600-page study, a two-person fact-finding team from Pakistan claimed that Sharif’s death was a pre-planned homicide after visiting Kenya, conducting several interviews, inspecting and reconstructing the crime scene, and looking through the deceased’s phones and computers.

“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.

Kenyan authorities declined comment on the specifics of the report.

“The investigation into the matter is still ongoing, so there is not much I can tell,” said Resila Onyango, spokesperson for the Kenya National Police Service.

He added that the inquiry is being carried out by a multi-agency team and that they will inform the authorities when they are finished.

Investigations are still ongoing, according to Anne Makori, the chairwoman of Kenya’s Independent Police Oversight Authority.

Prior to the publication of the report, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah claimed Sharif’s body had signs of torture, including bruises, and that this proved the death may have been premeditated.

The fact-finding team singled out one wound on Sharif’s back in particular, stating that it appeared to have been caused from a close distance.

The study stated that Sharif’s seat, where the shooting allegedly occurred, had no corresponding bullet penetration mark, describing this as a “ballistic impossibility.”

“The injury had to have been caused either before the journalist got into the vehicle, or the shot was fired from a relatively close range, possibly from inside the vehicle, and almost certainly not a moving vehicle,” the report said.

After the government filed many treason proceedings against him, Sharif left Pakistan citing threats to his life.

One of the treason charges arose from information Sharif provided that led to the charge that he had disseminated a call for military mutiny made by a member of the previous administration led by the former cricket star Imran Khan.

Former prime minister Khan said Sharif had been murdered for his journalistic work. He and his successor Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, not related to the journalist, had called for a judicial investigation.

The report of the fact-finding team also identified apparent disparities in the autopsy results from Kenya and Pakistan.

In Kenya, just two injuries related to gunshot wounds were found in the post-mortem report, compared to 12 injuries found on Sharif’s body in Pakistan.

The fact-finding team report said doctors believed the injures may be the result of torture or a struggle, but it could not be established until verified by the doctor who conducted the post mortem in Kenya.

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