Sunday, November 13, 2022
KENYA/NAIROBI: A Kenyan lawyer has said that brothers Waqar Ahmad and Khurram Ahmad are fearing for their lives after the killing of slain journalist Arshad Sharif and the controversy that followed.
Speaking to Geo News in an exclusive interview, Waqar and Khurram's lawyer defended the brothers who have become the centre of investigation, rumours, facts, and fiction. They have not spoken publicly to anyone but contacted Geo News' reporter through one of their lawyers.
Speaking on behalf of the brothers, the lawyer said that Khurram and Waqar, who sponsored and hosted Sharif in Nairobi for over two months, were being “vilified” in Pakistan and “are also very traumatised and fearful for their lives”.
The lawyer stated that both Waqar and Khurram were “friends” of the slain journalist and “kept him safe” while he was in Kenya for over two months.
“It is just unfortunate the Kenyan police, in an operation, and the white vehicle heading home crossed paths. Sharif would be alive and safe today if the issue of the stolen white Mercedes had not happened," he said commenting on the matter.
Condemned the media coverage of Sharif’s case in Pakistan, the lawyer said: “These news stories being published are based on lies and just conspiracy theories. No official statement has been made to warrant the tarnishing of our clients' names who are devastated by these events.”
The Nairobi-based attorney said that Waqar and Khurram will not speak to the media. While explaining the reason, he said: “We will stay above all the nonsense and speak when official investigation reports are issued. Please don’t be fooled. The facts and official evidence will speak for themselves and exonerate our clients. They (Khurram and Waqar) are victims too.”
When asked what was the version of Khurram and Waqar about the events of the October 23 night when Sharif was killed by the Kenyan police, while Khurram was driving the Toyota Land Cruiser, the lawyer stuck to the position adopted by Khurram that it was a road accident and a case of “mistaken identity”.
“The fact of the matter is that Kenyan police had a roadblock after a report of a stolen vehicle and mistook our clients’ car for the said thugs. They have admitted as much. These complex theories are just lies which keep changing every day. The truth cannot change," the lawyer said.
The brothers' counsel invited Pakistani media to accept the “simpler” explanation of what happened to Sharif — the case of a road accident and mistaken identity. The lawyer asked the media to consider the “Occam's razor principle” often attributed to 14th century English Franciscan friar William of Ockham which says that if you have two competing ideas to explain the same phenomenon, you should prefer the simpler one.
When asked by Geo News to comment on the similar statement issued by both the police and Khurram — which mentioned that Sharif's killing was a “mistaken identity” the police later changed its statement to the allegation that shots were fired from Sharif’s car on the police, the lawyer criticised the Kenyan police.
“The police made a mistake and obviously as an afterthought, they will try and defend their wrongful actions. Where is the police report that they were shot at that night? Why didn’t they arrest Khurram when they arrived at the scene of collecting the body? Why haven’t they arrested him to date? Shooting at police is a serious offence yet they have never questioned him or arrested him on that?" the lawyer said.
When asked to explain, the lawyer accused the Kenyan Police of lying. “They are lying because they are being investigated by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) for wrongfully shooting a civilian.
The counsel said, “The investigating agencies can also manipulate evidence to suit their needs. In the end, justice and truth will prevail, Insha'Allah.”
Earlier the Chairperson of Kenya’s IPOA said the matter of Sharif’s murder at the hands of Kenya’s police is under full and thorough investigation to establish the facts surrounding the shooting.
Sharif arrived in the Kenyan capital on August 20 and died on October 23 in a shootout during his driver Khurram survived unharmed.
The journalist stayed in the penthouse of an apartment building in Nairobi owned by the brothers, who reserved the penthouse exclusively for Sharif and where he stayed for over two months before his tragic killing. Both Khurram and Waqar have denied any foul play.