Police in Kenya announced on Monday that they shot and killed a top Pakistani journalist who had been living in hiding in the country after his car rushed through a roadblock. Kenyan law enforcement has apologized for the incident, explaining that it resulted from a “mistaken identification” when officers were searching for a similar vehicle linked to a child abduction.
The 50-year-old Arshad Sharif fled Pakistan in July to escape prosecution for criticizing the country’s powerful military. Despite Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s repeated assertions that he supports press freedom, he was also a critic of the administration. Officers gave them multiple warnings to slow down, but the two continued to speed. When asked by authorities, “they did not halt and continued the journey,” the suspects gave a standard response. When police began firing and giving chase, the automobile flipped.
Dozens of journalists demonstrated in Islamabad later on Monday to protest Sharif’s murder and to call for his immediate and fair trial. Likewise, the Kenyan police department released a statement expressing their sorrow and sympathy to the journalist’s loved ones. For a very long time, Pakistan was a dangerous place for journalists. On the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual Global Impunity Index, which ranks nations where journalists are frequently slain and the attackers go free, it was ranked ninth in 2020.