When a outstanding Pakistani investigative journalist was shot useless by Kenyan police on a mud 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 automobile? And did his outspoken reporting – typically crucial of the army institution that wields appreciable energy in Pakistan – have something to do together 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 provided by the Kenyan police and Pakistani authorities haven’t supplied additional readability. First, police stated it was a case of mistaken identification. Later, they stated photographs had been fired from the journalist’s automotive. 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 substantiate all this.”
Pakistani media have aired varied lurid theories concerning the night time Sharif died. Some studies steered 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 pinnacle and chest. Neither of the studies documented proof of torture.
Pakistani media have alleged his fingernails had been eliminated by torture, nevertheless 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 informed CNN.
The conflicting tales have sown doubt and frustration for Sharif’s household, who’re skeptical they may get solutions to the thriller of his dying.
“I’ve no religion within the Pakistani authorities,” his mom, Riffat Ara Alvi informed CNN in a video interview.
She stated she wrote a letter to Pakistan’s Chief Justice this month imploring the Supreme Courtroom to arrange a judicial fee “to find out the true motive and establish criminals behind this heinous crime.”
“It’s not doable 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 informed CNN.
CNN has contacted Pakistan’s excessive fee in Nairobi for touch upon the case.
In his dwelling nation, Sharif was a critic of the Pakistani army 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 buddies 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” throughout the army. Former Prime Minister Khan described Sharif, 49, as “among the best investigative journalists in Pakistan,” and informed CNN on November 7 that Sharif had uncovered a plot towards him, with out giving additional particulars.
“This man was exposing this entire 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 referred to 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 Courtroom and to the president, in response to 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 components 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 pressured 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 response to sources acquainted with the investigation. The staff 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 international locations he was capable of get a fast e-visa together with his Pakistani passport, in response to his shut affiliate.
Sharif landed in Kenya round August 20, in response to his spouse and an in depth affiliate, the place he quietly lived his life largely 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 will assassinate me, so I’m not going to let you know the place I’m proper now,” his spouse Siddique recounted.
Siddique, 35, informed 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 a superb photographer. We did pictures collectively,” Siddique stated.
When Sharif was in Nairobi, he would not often depart the condo he was staying in, out of concern of being acknowledged, his shut affiliate informed CNN.
Nonetheless, throughout his two-month keep, he traveled to the outskirts of Nairobi to a taking pictures vary and lodge referred to as Ammodump greater than as soon as, in response to individuals with information of the matter.
On the day he died, Sharif had frolicked at a bonfire and barbeque occurring close to the camp, in response to a employees member who didn’t wish to be named.
After dinner, Sharif and the brother of the proprietor of Ammodump left collectively, the employees member stated.
Sharif and Khurram Ahmed left Ammodump round 8:30 p.m. native time, a detective concerned within the case informed 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 licensed to talk to the media.
That very same night, police had been looking out for a reported stolen automobile, a Mercedes-Benz supply van, in response to 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 automobile and opened hearth, killing the journalist, the police alleged.
4 law enforcement officials had been manning the roadblock, together with officers from Kenya’s elite police unit, the detective stated. All had been standing on the driving force’s aspect of the automotive when the taking pictures occurred. The driving force was not injured within the gunfire, he added.
In a follow-up report, police stated the primary photographs got here from the automotive – hitting a police officer within the hand within the course of – and police returned hearth, taking pictures the automotive at the very least 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 hundreds 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 army 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 referred to as Sharif a “martyr” who had “no risk to his life in Pakistan.”
Pakistan’s Supreme Courtroom 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 concerning the letter he acquired from Sharif, “for needed motion as per regulation,” in a media briefing on November 16, in response to a press launch from his workplace.
Because the investigation gathers tempo on totally different continents, his widow Siddique is left to select up the items and are available to phrases together with his devastating loss.
“I miss his smile, his voice, his presence,” she informed CNN. “He was an awesome man, he was not solely an awesome journalist, however he was a really loving individual,” she remembers. “I misplaced a gem.”