When a distinguished Pakistani investigative journalist was shot useless by Kenyan police on a dust highway on the outskirts of Nairobi, the questions started swirling instantly.
How did he come to be there? Why did the police shoot at his car? And did his outspoken reporting – typically vital of the navy institution that wields appreciable energy in Pakistan – have something to do along with his dying?
One month since Arshad Sharif was killed, Kenyan and Pakistani authorities haven’t concluded their studies nor have there been any arrests within the case.
Conflicting accounts supplied by the Kenyan police and Pakistani authorities haven’t offered additional readability. First, police stated it was a case of mistaken identification. Later, they stated pictures have been fired from the journalist’s automobile. Pakistan’s inside minister has forged doubt on the police studies, claiming earlier this month that it was a “focused killing,” including that extra proof was wanted to “to verify all this.”
Pakistani media have aired varied lurid theories in regards to the night time Sharif died. Some studies urged the journalist was tortured for hours earlier than he was shot useless, alleging damaged fingers, damaged ribs, lacking fingernails, and different torture marks.
Nonetheless, autopsy studies from separate autopsies carried out in Kenya and Pakistan, obtained by CNN, each concluded that Sharif died from a number of accidents after gunshots to the top and chest. Neither of the studies documented proof of torture.
Pakistani media have alleged his fingernails have been eliminated by torture, however it’s commonplace in Kenya to extract fingernails in an post-mortem for DNA, Dr. Ahmed Kalebi, an impartial pathologist in Nairobi who has reviewed each studies instructed CNN.
The conflicting tales have sown doubt and frustration for Sharif’s household, who’re skeptical they’ll get solutions to the thriller of his dying.
“I’ve no religion within the Pakistani authorities,” his mom, Riffat Ara Alvi instructed CNN in a video interview.
She stated she wrote a letter to Pakistan’s Chief Justice this month imploring the Supreme Court docket to arrange a judicial fee “to find out the actual motive and establish criminals behind this heinous crime.”
“It’s not potential to get justice in Pakistan and in Kenya. I do know that. However I request all of the worldwide journalistic organizations and United Nations to research this killing,” his widow, Javeria Siddique instructed CNN.
CNN has contacted Pakistan’s excessive fee in Nairobi for touch upon the case.
In his residence nation, Sharif was a critic of the Pakistani navy and an ally of former prime minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in April after a no confidence vote in parliament. Sharif’s vocal opposition to the present administration earned him many enemies and his household and pals say left the journalist so terrified for his life, he fled the nation.
He additionally confronted sedition prices for allegedly criticizing state establishments and “abetting mutiny” inside the navy. Former Prime Minister Khan described Sharif, 49, as “probably the greatest investigative journalists in Pakistan,” and instructed CNN on November 7 that Sharif had uncovered a plot towards him, with out giving additional particulars.
“This man was exposing this complete plot towards me. He was hounded out of Pakistan,” Khan claimed.
Khan was himself shot at a political rally earlier this month and his occasion known as the assault an assassination try by institution figures – which has been vehemently denied by the federal government and safety officers.
Sharif left Pakistan a month after writing to Pakistan’s Supreme Court docket and to the president, in accordance with letters obtained by CNN, notifying them of threats towards his and different journalists’ lives. “Journalists in Pakistan are subjected to prices of sedition and terrorism to stifle dissent and criticism towards the highly effective parts of state. It seems that a reign of terror has been unleashed towards the media individuals who’ve impartial opinions,” he wrote.
He had initially gone to Dubai however was compelled to flee once more because of “harassment by Pakistani officers,” the affiliate stated.
Pakistani investigators traveled to Dubai the week of November 14 to probe Sharif’s keep there, in accordance with sources conversant in the investigation. The crew questioned Sharif’s contacts and hosts there, in addition to the proprietor of ARY tv, the station Sharif labored for and their investigation is ongoing, the sources stated.
With restricted nation choices for acquiring a visa after he was expelled from Dubai, Sharif traveled to Kenya, one of many few nations he was capable of get a fast e-visa along with his Pakistani passport, in accordance with his shut affiliate.
Sharif landed in Kenya round August 20, in accordance with his spouse and a detailed affiliate, the place he quietly lived his life principally in hiding, for 2 months – at all times in concern of being attacked, his family and friends stated.
“He had by no means disclosed his location to all of us- his household, his mom, to me. He was saying that I’m hiding someplace as a result of I’m not feeling protected and they’re going to assassinate me, so I’m not going to let you know the place I’m proper now,” his spouse Siddique recounted.
Siddique, 35, instructed CNN he despatched her a textual content message to let her know he was in “far, distant jungles.” Nonetheless, it wasn’t till information of his killing emerged that Sharif’s mom and spouse got here to study he had been in Kenya.
“He was so kind-hearted, and beneficiant, and he was an excellent photographer. We did pictures collectively,” Siddique stated.
When Sharif was in Nairobi, he would hardly ever depart the condominium he was staying in, out of concern of being acknowledged, his shut affiliate instructed CNN.
Nonetheless, throughout his two-month keep, he traveled to the outskirts of Nairobi to a taking pictures vary and lodge known as Ammodump greater than as soon as, in accordance with folks with data of the matter.
On the day he died, Sharif had frolicked at a bonfire and barbeque occurring close to the camp, in accordance with a workers member who didn’t need to be named.
After dinner, Sharif and the brother of the proprietor of Ammodump left collectively, the workers member stated.
Sharif and Khurram Ahmed left Ammodump round 8:30 p.m. native time, a detective concerned within the case instructed CNN.
Police arrived on the crime scene, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) away from the location of the taking pictures the place Ahmad lastly stopped, after 10 p.m. native time, stated the detective who declined to be named as he was not approved to talk to the media.
That very same night, police have been looking out for a reported stolen car, a Mercedes-Benz supply van, in accordance with an preliminary police report. Sharif and Ahmad allegedly drove previous a makeshift roadblock in a Toyota Land Cruiser which the police mistook for the lacking car and opened hearth, killing the journalist, the police alleged.
4 cops have been manning the roadblock, together with officers from Kenya’s elite police unit, the detective stated. All have been standing on the driving force’s aspect of the automobile when the taking pictures came about. The motive force was not injured within the gunfire, he added.
In a follow-up report, police stated the primary pictures got here from the automobile – hitting a police officer within the hand within the course of – and police returned hearth, taking pictures the automobile a minimum of 9 instances.
Kenya’s Impartial Policing Oversight Authority, IPOA, has been tasked with investigating police conduct.
“We aren’t investigating the prior occasions of this incident, or the prior actions and patterns of actions of this Pakistani journalist,” Elema Halake, CEO of IPOA, stated. “Our mandate specifies that we solely examine the circumstances of the taking pictures.”
Sharif’s dying stays a hot-button challenge and continues to spark outrage on-line. Tens of 1000’s of mourners flooded the streets of Islamabad to attend Sharif’s funeral within the metropolis’s largest mosque in late October, chanting “Arshad, out of your blood, revolution will come.”
A number of theories about his dying have been circulated on social media, together with by opponents of the Pakistani authorities and the Pakistani navy who accuse them of plotting his dying.
Separate investigations by Kenyan and Pakistani authorities are ongoing and in an unprecedented transfer, Pakistan’s intelligence chief addressed the media about Sharif’s killing final month, on the day of his funeral.
“I’ve come for my company whose officers are working day and night time across the globe, I can’t stay silent when they’re focused,” Chief Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum stated in a press convention.
He known as Sharif a “martyr” who had “no menace to his life in Pakistan.”
Pakistan’s Supreme Court docket acknowledged the receipt of Sharif’s letter to CNN by a textual content message and stated it was “being handled by following a due authorized course of.”
Whereas Pakistani President Arif Alvi stated he had written a letter to the prime minister in July relating to the letter he obtained from Sharif, “for mandatory motion as per legislation,” in a media briefing on November 16, in accordance with a press launch from his workplace.
Because the investigation gathers tempo on completely different continents, his widow Siddique is left to select up the items and are available to phrases along with his devastating loss.
“I miss his smile, his voice, his presence,” she instructed CNN. “He was an incredible man, he was not solely an incredible journalist, however he was a really loving particular person,” she remembers. “I misplaced a gem.”