Arshad Sharif: Pakistani journalist shot dead in Kenya being returned home

Mr Sharif, who fled his country fearing for his life, was killed by police in Nairobi in a case of 'mistaken identity'

In this picture taken on June 22, 2022, a top Pakistani news anchor Arshad Sharif speaks during an event on "Regime Change Conspiracy and Pakistan’s Destabilisation" in Islamabad.  - Arshad Sharif was shot dead in Kenya, his wife said on October 24, 2022, just months after he fled his home country to avoid arrest over sedition charges.  Sharif was a frequent critic of the powerful military establishment and supporter of former prime minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary no-confidence vote in April.  (Photo by Aamir QURESHI  /  AFP)
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Pakistan is repatriating the body of an outspoken journalist who was shot and killed by police in Kenya, where he was living after fleeing his country.

A plane left Kenya on Tuesday carrying the body of Arshad Sharif and it was expected to arrive in Pakistan later that day, Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb said.

Sharif was killed on Sunday night after the car he was in drove through a checkpoint on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. He was 49.

The car, which was also carrying another man, Khurram Ahmed, was struck by nine bullets, AFP reported.

One of the bullets struck the Pakistani journalist in the head. Police gave chase after the car failed to stop.

Sharif's family said Mr Ahmed, who had initially been identified as his brother by Nairobi police, was not a relative but the driver of the car.

He is believed to have been hurt in the shooting but officials in Kenya have yet to announce any details about his condition or his whereabouts.

Police expressed regret over the incident and have opened an investigation into the case.

They said it was a case of mistaken identity as they had set up the roadblock to look for a stolen car linked to the abduction of a child, which had a similar licence plate to one Sharif was in.

Sharif, 49, was a frequent critic of Pakistan's powerful military establishment and supporter of former prime minister Imran Khan, AFP reported.

The killing stunned Pakistan’s community of journalists, who demanded a detailed probe into the incident.

"I lost friend, husband and my favourite journalist today, as per police he was shot in Kenya," Sharif's wife Javeria Siddique tweeted.

The US, to which Sharif was reportedly seeking a visa, voiced sadness over his death.

"We encourage a full investigation by the government of Kenya into his death," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

On Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is not related to the journalist, spoke to Kenyan President William Ruto about the incident.

Mr Sharif said he had asked Mr Ruto to ensure a fair and transparent investigation. The Kenyan president promised to render all the required assistance, including fast-tracking the return of the body to Pakistan.

In August, Sharif interviewed senior opposition politician Shahbaz Gill, who said junior officers in Pakistan's armed forces should not follow orders that went against "the will of the majority".

The comment led to the news channel being briefly taken off air and an arrest warrant issued for Sharif, who then fled the country.

Updated: October 25, 2022, 12:14 PM