Murder most foul

The Arshad Sharif case cries for investigation

That journalist Arshad Sharif was murdered in Nairobi, not killed by accident as a result of a mistaken identity at a Kenyan police post, now seems clear. However, it is not clear at this point who was behind his killing, with everyone pointing a finger at their opponent. It does seem clear however, that his death has been turned into a political football, which is very unfortunate, as he did not deserve to be treated with such a lack of seriousness. The entire incident deserves to be treated with the sort of seriousness that would lead to a solution rather than the sort of finger-pointing that is now going on.

One of the main difficulties is that the murder took place in faraway Kenya, which adds to the difficulty of investigation. It is symbolic that it was only discovered in the autopsy conducted in Islamabad, after the corpse was brought back to Pakistan, that Mr Sharif was severely tortured before being killed, to the extent of having his nails pulled. This not only exploded the claim of an accidental killing, but also made any findings of the autopsy in Nairobi totally unreliable. Then there is the failure of the Kenya Police in a host of areas, ranging from the recovery of Mr Sharif’s laptop and mobile, to providing access to Pakistani authorities to Mr Sharif’s companions at the time of his killing who were also his hosts. Such access, both to resident High Commission staff and to the visiting investigative team, required diplomatic initiative and activism. That does not seem to have been shown. It should be remembered that Pakistani authorities do not have jurisdiction in Kenya, and very little or no ability to get things done the way they do in Pakistan, by throwing their weight around. Pakistan can only progress in this investigation if there is proper diplomatic backing, which has not been visible so far.

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The worrying thing about Mr Sharif’s murder is that whichever narrative is shown to be correct, the killing was ordered by someone high up, who would now want a cover-up. That makes it all the more necessary that there be a proper and thorough investigation which would clear away all the cobwebs of doubt and suspicion, and leave the guilty exposed, and liable to the just punishment of the law. Mr Sharif was not a political football, but a journalist of high calibre, whose murderers deserve to be punished.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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