The ongoing probe into the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif has led to the revelation of some harrowing details, including indications that he might have been tortured prior to being shot dead at close range, raising questions over the Kenyan police’s claims of the shooting being a case of “mistaken identity.”
The troubling development was brought to light by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, who told a press conference on Tuesday that Sharif was likely targeted for killing and it was appearing increasingly unlikely that the Kenyan police’s claim of “mistaken identity” was accurate. This was followed by several TV channels, citing a postmortem report compiled in Pakistan, alleging that Sharif had been tortured prior to being shot at close range.
Highlighting images of Sharif’s body, the channels suggested they showed bullet wounds and multiple signs of torture. One journalist suggested Sharif might have been forced to step out of his vehicle and beaten up prior to being shot to death.
Geo News, reporting from Kenya, has also revealed that the vehicle that police had claimed they were searching for is of a different make and model than the one Sharif was traveling in, raising further questions about the case of “mistaken identity” that had been provided by Kenyan authorities in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. It said marks on the car showed nine bullets struck the vehicle, of which six were fired in Sharif’s direction and two hit him. Only three bullets were fired toward the driver’s side, who emerged unscathed from the ordeal.
The channel has also secured a medical report from Kenya that suggests the cause of death as “multiple injuries,” adding that bullets were fired at him from two different directions. The first gunshot, it said, entered the left side of Sharif’s head, damaging a large part of his brain. The second gunshot, per the report, entered his “right upper back” and exited on the “right side of the chest.”
Additionally, per reports from Kenyan media, two pieces of key evidence—Sharif’s iPad and mobile phone—sought by Pakistani investigators have “gone missing.” Earlier, Sharif’s hosts, Khurram and Waqar Ahmad, had claimed that these were in the custody of Kenyan police.
Pakistani investigators—FIA Director Athar Wahid and IB Deputy DG Omar Shahid Hamid—have said that the initial probe has determined Sharif reached Kenya on Aug. 20 on a visa sponsored by his hosts. They said they had also sought the identities of everyone who was present at the shooting range on the night of the shooting. They also said that they did know the deceased “very well,” with Waqar suggesting he had only met Sharif once prior to his killing. They have also suggested that Sharif wanted to permanently relocate to Kenya with his family and had extended his visa.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wrote a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to formally request the formation of a judicial commission to probe the journalist’s killing, with an aim at determining who encouraged Sharif to flee Pakistan and why he went to Kenya from the U.A.E.