Tuesday, October 25, 2022
WASHINGTON: The US State Department Monday urged the Kenyan authorities to fully investigate the circumstances leading to the killing of Pakistan journalist Arshad Sharif on the outskirts of the capital, Nairobi.
Sharif was shot dead in Kenya when police hunting car thieves opened fire on the vehicle he was traveling in as it drove through their roadblock without stopping, according to a Kenyan police report.
A senior police officer told The Star, a Kenyan newspaper, that the shooting was being treated as a case of mistaken identity. The circumstances of the journalist's death sparked widespread outrage in Pakistan and calls for an investigation.
The extrajudicial murder sparked widespread reaction on social media in Pakistan from officials, journalists and others.
"I am deeply saddened by the shocking news of journalist Arshad Sharif's tragic death," Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter while ex-PM Imran Khan also condemned the death and said Sharif had been murdered for his journalistic work. He called for a judicial investigation into the incident.
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price was asked to comment on the incident in a press conference where he called for a probe into the matter.
“We encourage a full investigation by the Government of Kenya into his death. It’s not entirely clear that we know all the circumstances at this point regarding what led to his death, but we do urge a full investigation,” the spokesperson said while offering condolences to the aggrieved family and the Pakistani journalist community.
“We’re deeply saddened by the death of Arshad Sharif.”
The US official was also asked about how the US was helping journalists facing threats around the world.
Ned Price said that It’s difficult for him to speak with any specificity regarding what we could do with a particular individual, but we have programs around the world in the first instance to bolster protections for those who are exercising what is another universal right, the right to freedom of expression, the right to information.
“And it’s clear through his work that Arshad Sharif was dedicated to that fundamental right of freedom of expression – took him around the world. His work was known around the world.”
USAID has a number of programmes to work with governments around the world to bolster those rights, to bolster independent media, he added.
When asked to comment about the disqualification of former prime minister Imran Khan, Ned Price refused to speak on the issue calling it an internal matter of Pakistan.
“We are not going to inject ourselves into internal Pakistani politics or into a dispute between the court and the Pakistani political system.”