Nairobi businessman says Karachi Kings CEO asked him to invite Arshad Sharif to Kenya

Nairobi businessman Waqar Ahmed claims ARY's Salman Iqbal also called him after the shooting

Murtaza Ali Shah
Slain journalist Arshad Sharif addresses a conference. — Twitter/File
Slain journalist Arshad Sharif addresses a conference. — Twitter/File
  • Pakistani investigators dig deeper into Arshad Sharif murder case.
  • Wasi asked Waqar to facilitate Sharif in every possible way.
  • Waqar claims ARY's Salman Iqbal also called him after shooting.

NAIROBI: Nairobi businessman Waqar Ahmed has said that the Chief Executive Officer of Karachi Kings Tariq Wasi had asked him to sponsor Arshad Sharif’s visit to Kenya, which he arranged out of courtesy.

Waqar revealed this to Pakistani investigators — the Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Athar Wahid and Intelligence Bureau Deputy Director-General Omar Shahid Hamid — during an interrogation session.

Waqar is the brother of Khurram Ahmed, who was driving Sharif in a Toyota Land Cruiser when they came under fire that killed the journalist.

Waqar told the investigators that Wasi not only asked him to arrange a sponsorship letter for Sharif from Dubai to Kenya but also to host him throughout his stay in Kenya and facilitate him in every possible way.

Waqar told the probe team that Wasi was in touch with him regularly to ask about Sharif’s well-being, including his routine, a source said. “I arranged for Sharif’s stay at my penthouse on Wasi’s request,” Waqar told investigators at his flat.

“Wasi called me and asked me to prepare sponsorship for Sharif at any cost and I did that to please him,” said Waqar, adding that he had no interest in inviting Arshad to Kenya otherwise. He, however, confirmed that he had met the journalist only once before inviting him to Kenya.

Talking to investigators, Waqar said he telephoned Wasi immediately after Sharif was shot dead and soon after ARY owner, Salman Iqbal, called him to inquire about the situation.

The Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lieutenant General Babar Iftikhar had, at a press conference, called on Salman Iqbal to join the investigation of Sharif’s killing.

“In this case, the name of Salman Iqbal surfaced time and again; therefore, he should be brought back and investigated in connection with the killing of Arshad Sharif,” Lt-Gen Babar Iftikhar said.

The DG ISPR said that following some investigation from Senior Vice President ARY Ammad Yousuf on August 9 with regard to Shahbaz Gill’s highly controversial statement against the Pakistan Army, it was revealed that ARY CEO had directed him (Ammad) that Sharif should be convinced to leave the country at the earliest.

In response, he said Yousuf told Iqbal that Sharif would be sent to the UAE from Peshawar Airport. Air ticket for the anchorperson was booked in Karachi by a travel agent, Fazal-e-Rabbi, on payment of Rs5 lakh by Assistant Manager Planning & Administration Imran. Later, Iqbal was informed that the anchorperson had left for Dubai.

Iqbal has said that he faces threats to his life and has called for an independent investigation. He has denied any wrongdoing. Geo News sent questions to Wasi but he didn’t reply.

In a world exclusive, Geo News on Wednesday broke the news that slain journalist Sharif’s visit visa to Kenya was sponsored and he didn’t get the entry visa on arrival.

Geo News also revealed that the sponsor letter for Sharif to visit Kenya was sent by the Nairobi-based property developer Waqar Ahmed.

It has been claimed that Sharif was forced out of Dubai and he chose Kenya because it was amongst the countries that offered visas on arrival to Pakistani nationals. While there is little doubt that Sharif faced threats to his life over his critical views and left Pakistan at the start of August this year in a hurry from Peshawar to Dubai, Immigration authorities here shared that Kenya no longer offers on-arrival entry to Pakistani passport-holders and the record showed that Sharif reached the African country on a sponsored visit visa.

“Arshad Sharif’s visa was sponsored. He reached Nairobi on a visit visa. He applied for an e-visa to enter the country and attached a sponsor letter with his application as well as a copy of the return ticket, his employment contract and the place of residence and a local contact number,” a source told Geo News on Wednesday.

A Pakistani diplomat here also told Geo News that the Kenyan immigration ministry had confirmed to Pakistan that Sharif was on a visit visa in Kenya and was staying here legally. 

Those carrying American and British passports also have to obtain a visa to enter the country. A Kenyan immigration official shared that on-arrival visas are issued only in exceptional circumstances and this didn’t apply in Sharif’s case as he entered the country without any issue.

The two brothers told the Pakistani investigating officers that the slain journalist was planning to move to Nairobi and for that he had his visa extended. A source here shared it was true that Sharif’s initial visa was for one month and then he got an extension. He arrived in the Kenyan capital on August 20 and was killed on October 23 in a shootout.

The fatal shooting of Sharif by police in Kenya has caused outrage in Pakistan, leaving many wondering how such a thing could have happened.