Arshad Sharif, a prominent Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif has been killed in Kenya. He fled his country after being charged with sedition.
The journalist died after police shoot-out responding to reports of a stolen vehicle. Sharif’s car allegedly drove through the road barrier that had been erected by police to track a stolen vehicle which prompted the shooting.
“The officers trailing the motor vehicle had alerted police in Magadi who erected a road barrier,” Bruno Isohi Shioso, a spokesperson for Kenya’s National Police Service, said in a statement.
Sharif had fled Pakistan in August due to sedition charges levelled against him for allegedly criticizing state institutions and “abetting mutiny” within the military. He had interviewed opposition politician Shahbaz Gill, a close ally of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Following the interview, Gill was also charged with sedition by the Pakistani police for making what they claim were “anti-state comments.”
Sharif’s channel ARY initially claimed that it was “being hounded by the present regime,” but then said it had cut ties with Sharif after it was taken off air for about a month on August 8 by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.
Sharif had to “flee Pakistan in August to save his life,” a close associate of his told CNN. He had initially gone to Dubai but was forced to flee from the UAE due to “harassment by Pakistani officials,” the associate added.
The Foreign Press Association, Africa (FPA Africa) said it is “deeply disturbed” by Sharif’s killing, especially the circumstances in which he died.
“Sharif’s death has robbed the media fraternity globally of a dedicated and forthright journalist,” FPA Africa said in a statement.
The association added that it is calling on authorities in Kenya to investigate the incident and thereby assure “foreign journalists based in the country and covering Africa, including those who visit on assignment and other professional undertakings that they’re safe.”