Connect with us

Pakistan

Investigating the murder of an investigative journalist

Published

on

Popular TV anchorperson and journalist Arshad Sharif, who was living in self-exile owing to threats to his life and a number of court cases registered against him in Pakistan — with one involving allegations of sedition — was killed in Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday night. 

This is the only “fact” we all know other than the official version of Kenyan police that the slain journalist became the victim of “mistaken identity.” It is just the beginning of the investigation into the brutal murder of an investigative journalist in a country where journalism has never been easy, particularly for those who go into the depths of news stories, putting their lives at stake.

The government has now constituted a nine-member commission, comprising three senior officials each from the premier intelligence agencies, including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), who will fly to Nairobi to interview the Kenyan police officers who have “regretfully” claimed to have killed Arshad Sharif in a “mistaken identity” shooting. Ascertaining whether what Kenyan cops are saying is based on facts or not is going to be a test for Pakistani investigators.

It may not be easy for our sleuths to unearth a possible coverup, especially under the alleged “notorious” reputation of the Kenyan police which, according to a source who had served in Nairobi, has recently been given the power of “extrajudicial killings” — something similar to power once given to Karachi police in 1995-96.

Now, whether it was a case of “mistaken or known identity” or it was it a “fake encounter” or a “targeted killing,” is the first thing the Pakistani investigators need to look into other than the case history of the late Arshad Sharif and why he left Pakistan and under what circumstances he chose Kenya as his final destination.

The official version of the Kenyan police that it was a case of “mistaken identity,” had already cast doubts as they keep interpreting their own position like in most of the cases of “fake encounters.” So, I wonder how much they would cooperate with the Pakistani “Joint Investigation Team,” (JIT) and what other limited sources would be available to them for counter-checking.

It is highly unlikely the crime scene is still cordoned off or sealed, given the Kenyan police’s reputation. Nobody knows if Kenyans have secured the murder weapon as well as the spent shell casings as evidence after the shooting.

The most important factor in this case that could set the tone of the investigation is the statement of the late Arshad Sharif’s cousin, who was not only among the two surviving members but could also narrate the eyewitness account. 

However, he was the one whom Arshad is believed to have been in touch with and he also mentioned his name in the travelling documents and was likely staying with him. Thus, his statement would be quite revealing.

 Secondly, he would also be facing serious security threats, particularly in a place like Nairobi, known for all kinds of infamous activities by drug smugglers as well underworld networks in alleged connivance with police and law enforcement agencies.

A former Pakistani diplomat, who served in Kenya for many years, disclosed to this scribe on the condition of anonymity that the place was known for all kinds of illegal and dangerous activities and wondered if Pakistani investigators would be able to get the real story out of the Kenyans. “I am not sure if they had even conducted the postmortem of the body or not. Recently they have upgraded their police and also given them new weapons. But, can’t say it’s a case of mistaken identity or premeditated,” the former high commissioner said.

With all kinds of speculative stories in the mainstream and social media in the era of the mad “race for ratings”, real questions are missing in regard to investigation and there is every chance of a “coverup,” as the Nairobi police have that kind of reputation.

One of the retired police officials, who had a personal experience of the Kenyan police’s questionable track record, doubted they would be of any help to the Pakistani investigation team. “I had a firsthand experience when I went there in regard to the murder of one of my relatives and got very little cooperation despite being their counterpart,” he said.

Nairobi was among the worst cities with high crime rates.

Other questions which immediately come to my mind in this case and need to be looked at are:

Q 1: Where are Arshad’s mobile phones as the data would be key to starting the investigation? Are they with the police or in his cousin’s custody? Besides, all his travelling documents and other records also need to be found.

Q 2: Are all those police officials, who allegedly killed Arshad Sharif, in the custody of Kenyan law enforcement agencies?

Q 3: Which Kenyan agency is investigating the case as the police, in this case, are already a party?

Q 4: Has the autopsy been conducted and if so, what are its findings?

Q 5: When did Arshad Sharif reach Nairobi and what was his plan? Was it just to visit a first cousin or friends or was he there to stay for long if not for good? The answer to this question could be found with the help of his cousin.

Q 6: Did he leave UAE voluntarily or was declared a persona non-grata at the request of Pakistani authorities?

Q 7: Who booked [and some other journalists critical of the present government] and filed cases against him including a sedition case leaving him with no other option but to leave the country?

Q 8: Why did the management of a private TV channel, for which Arshad had been anchoring a top-rated talk show for many years, ask him to leave?

Pakistan is among the three most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and investigative journalism in particular. You need to dig out stories of the wrongdoings of the rulers and other relevant players at great risk to life. In the past also, such investigative reporters came under attack, faced threats, disappeared, and at times killed.

Those who in the past were attacked for their work include Umer Cheema, Ahmad Noorani, the late Saleem Shahzad, Asad Toor, Matiullah Jan and even Kamran Khan. Journalists like Hamid Mir also come under attack for their work.

In the last few months Arshad Sharif, Sabir Shakir, and Arif Hameed Bhatti had also left the country. Bhatti later returned to Pakistan. Similarly, anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan also faced pressure and lost his job with different channels. He too has a huge following on his YouTube channel.

This is for the first time in Pakistan’s history that a journalist had been killed while in self-exile or living abroad due to a threat to his life. The other case is that of a Pakistani journalist settled in the US, Ms Nafisa Shah’s husband and a well-known writer and researcher Javed Bhutto. She has been fighting a lone legal battle against the suspected killer for the last two years.

Journalism is a profession based upon a commitment to principles of honesty, fairness, credibility, and respect for truth. Now, whether you are working for print, electronic, or digital media, every journalist needs to follow these essential principles.

With Arshad Sharif’s murder, the country has lost a bold, straightforward, and courageous journalist, who stood to his commitment and belief whether one agrees with his views or not. He investigated a number of stories which made headlines.

Will the story of an investigative journalist be investigated in a free and fair manner and the report made public? Wait and see.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News

The captain of the Pakistan Shaheens’ white-ball team has been announced for the upcoming trip to Darwin.

Published

on

By

Mohammad Haris, a wicket-keeper batsman, has been chosen as the captain of Pakistan Shaheens for the two 50-over matches and nine-team Top End T20 series in Darwin, Australia. The matches will take place from 4-18 August.

Haris recently led Pakistan Shaheens in the ACC Men’s Emerging Teams Asia Cup 2023 in Colombo. In this tournament, Pakistan successfully defended their championship by defeating India with a margin of 128 runs.

The Pakistan Shaheens have already arrived in Darwin to play two four-day matches against Bangladesh ‘A’ on July 19-22 and July 26-29. Sahibzada Farhan is currently captaining the team in the longer format of the game.

Following the two four-day matches, the Shaheens will engage in 50-over matches against Northern Territory (NT) and Bangladesh ‘A’ on 4 and 6 August, respectively, prior to the start of the T20 series on 9 August.

The T20 competition includes additional teams such as ACT Comets, Bangladesh ‘A’, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Northern Territory Strike, Adelaide Strikers, and Tasmania.

In addition, seven modifications have been implemented for the white-ball contests compared to the red-ball side.

Abdul Faseeh, Arafat Minhas, Arif Yaqoob, Jahandad Khan, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Imran Jnr, and Usman Khan are the replacements for Kamran Ghulam, Khurram Shahzad, Mehran Mumtaz, Mohammad Ali, Mubasir Khan, Tayyab Tahir, and Umar Amin.

The Pakistan Shaheens will participate in the Darwin series for the second consecutive year. In the previous year, NT Strike emerged victorious over Shaheens in the final of the Top End T20 Series with a margin of 46 runs. Subsequently, Pakistan Shaheens achieved a resounding victory over PNG by 224 runs and Northern Strike by 84 runs in the two One-day matches.

The white-ball squad of Pakistan Shaheens
Mohammad Haris is the captain of the team, and the other players in the squad are Abdul Faseeh, Arafat Minhas, Arif Yaqoob, Faisal Akram, Haseebullah (who is both a wicketkeeper and a batter), Muhammad Irfan Khan, Jahandad Khan, Kashif Ali, Mohammad Huraira, Mohammad Imran Jnr, Omair bin Yousuf, Sahibzada Farhan, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Usman Khan.

The personnel providing support to the players include Abdul Rehman as the head coach, Mohammad Masroor as the assistant coach-cum-manager, Mohammad Asad as the physiotherapist, Imranullah as the trainer, and Usman Hashmi as the analyst.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Explanation: The increase in inflation in the United States would cause electricity costs in Pakistan to rise.

Published

on

By

Electricity contracts between Independent Power Plants (IPPs) and the federal government not only involve capacity costs, but also have a significant impact on the economy and the financial well-being of the population. These contracts are closely linked to the inflation rate and the value of the US dollar.

Startling disclosures have emerged regarding the exorbitant electricity tariffs in Pakistan. The Council of Economic and Energy Journalists Sage, representing the institute, provided a briefing to leading journalists in Karachi.

According to the information provided, the electricity rate component in Pakistan experienced a 253 percent increase from 2019 to 2024 as a result of inflation in America.

The data presented in the briefing indicates that the capacity charges in Pakistan were Rs3.26 per unit in 2019 and climbed to Rs10.34 per unit in 2024.

The capacity charges imposed on the public incorporate the effects of both US inflation and domestic inflation.

Due to the rise in the country’s interest rate, the interest payment for energy has climbed by 343% during a span of four years. Over the course of four years, the working capital of IPPs caused a 716 percent increase in the cost of power per unit.

The electricity rate has increased by 12 to 20 percent, with 70 percent of the charges being capacity charges.

SDPI experts recommended the government to adopt a centralised tariff policy rather than a universal electricity tariff strategy.

The power generation capacity amounts to 23,000 megawatts.

As a result of the increase in solar power generation in the country, the capacity charges will have an additional adverse impact on the residents.

Continue Reading

Business

Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

Published

on

By

On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

Continue Reading

Trending