A two-member team formed to investigate and ascertain the facts of senior journalist Arshad Sharif’s killing on Sunday recorded the statements of two brothers who provided accommodation and other facilities to the slain journalist in Kenya.
The team, comprising Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director Athar Wahid and Intelligence Bureau (IB) Deputy Director Umar Shahid Hamid, formally began the investigation and interrogated Waqar Ahmed and Khurram Ahmed, key witnesses in the murder.
According to sources, Waqar, in his statement, told the team that Arshad was staying at his guesthouse for the past two months and a friend had asked him to host the senior journalist.
He said that he had met Arshad only once before during a dinner at a lodge outside Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
On the day of the incident, he said Arshad had dinner with them at the lodge and after having the meal, the journalist left with his brother and soon they received the news about the shooting.
Khurram, in his statement, told the team that there was a dirt road for 18 kilometres and only then does a proper road start, adding that they saw a few stones lying on the road and as soon as they crossed them, someone started shooting at their vehicle.
Khurram said that when the firing began, he started panicking and hit the accelerator. He revealed that the Kenyan officials had taken possession of Arshad Sharif’s mobile phone and iPad.
The 49-year-old journalist had left 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, Arshad Sharif had moved to Dubai the same month and later relocated to Kenya where he had died after reportedly being shot.
Kenyan national police spokesman Bruno Shioso had said the journalist was shot dead by an officer after his car drove through a police barrier. “It is then that they were shot at, fatally injuring late Arshad Mohammed Sharif,” he said.
The death of the journalist sent shockwaves across rights organisations, the media fraternity and civil society, and prompted calls for thorough investigation and disclosure of facts.
Several local and international journalists, including Kenyan media persons, and relevant personalities have raised questions about the Kenyan police’s claims surrounding the killing.