Controversy Surrounding Kenyan Officers Implicated in Murder of Pakistani Journalist
The case involving the alleged murder of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif has taken a perplexing turn as the five Kenyan officers accused in his death have resumed their duties without any apparent consequences. The incident, which occurred in October 2022, has raised significant questions about the transparency and accountability of the Kenyan Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the National Police Service (NPS) of Kenya.
Return to Duty and Promotions
According to a report by Pakistan’s Geo News, the five police officers allegedly involved in the murder of Arshad Sharif are back on active duty. Shockingly, two of these officers have even been promoted to senior ranks. This unexpected turn of events has sparked outrage and disbelief, both locally and internationally.
Despite the glaring evidence of their alleged involvement, these officers not only evaded punishment but also continue to enjoy full police perks. This raises serious concerns about the commitment of Kenyan authorities to justice and accountability.
Lack of Transparency
The Kenyan IPOA, which initially promised to release the findings of its investigation into Arshad Sharif’s murder within weeks, has failed to make any of its findings public after nine months. This lack of transparency has led to speculation and skepticism about the intentions behind the delay. Geo News reported that the Kenyan IPOA declined to address inquiries regarding the reinstatement of the accused officers.
The seeming silence of the Kenyan investigative authorities has left many questioning the credibility of the probe into the journalist’s death. Despite international calls for transparency and justice, there appears to be little progress in shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the murder.
One of the officers, Kevin Kimuyu Mutuku, attached to the General Service Unit (GSU), returned to duty immediately after being released from the hospital. Mutuku claimed that shots were fired at the scene from inside the car, but a forensic investigation contradicted this assertion. The conflicting narratives further muddy the waters and cast doubt on the accuracy of the officers’ accounts.
The details surrounding Arshad Sharif’s death are both tragic and convoluted. He arrived in Kenya in August 2022 and was killed in a shootout in October of the same year. His associate, Khurram Ahmad, miraculously survived the incident, leaving many questions unanswered about the sequence of events leading up to the tragedy.
The case has also taken on political dimensions, as Arshad Sharif had fled Pakistan to avoid arrest on several charges, including sedition. He had conducted an interview with Shahbaz Gill, a former aide to Imran Khan, which might have contributed to the legal troubles he faced in his home country.
Sharif’s refuge in Kenya and his connection to businessman Waqar Ahmad, whose brother was involved in the incident, raised eyebrows and suspicions. The involvement of NPS members in the investigation also led to allegations of a potential conflict of interest, with claims that the probe had been deliberately slowed down.
Questionable Will and Delayed Justice
Kenya’s Human Rights Commission member, Martin Mavenjina, expressed skepticism about the commitment of the National Police Service to a thorough investigation. The prolonged time taken by the police to make progress in the case has fueled suspicions that justice might be intentionally delayed.
Mavenjina noted that the lack of political goodwill and interest in pursuing the case has hindered the investigation. He pointed out, “We have already learnt that the deceased was an outspoken journalist. He was loved and hated on equal measure. If there was a positive political goodwill then automatically the investigations by now could have been concluded.”
Former Islamabad High Court judge Shaukat Siddiqui also weighed in on the matter, expressing a belief that the Kenyan Police were complicit in the journalist’s murder. Siddiqui asserted, “I have no doubt in my mind that Kenyan Police were privy to this planned murder. It is so painful for the family of Arshad Sharif that even those officials who played the role of hired assassins have been let free and brought back to their rank.”
All eyes are now on the upcoming visit of caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar to Kenya, accompanied by caretaker foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, at the invitation of Kenyan President William Ruto. This visit could potentially shed further light on the situation and the diplomatic efforts being made to address the issue.
The unresolved mystery of Arshad Sharif’s death and the subsequent developments have cast a shadow on the pursuit of justice and accountability in Kenya. As the world watches, the hope remains that transparency, truth, and justice will ultimately prevail.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Kenyan Police were privy to this planned murder. It is so painful for the family of Arshad Sharif that even those officials who played the role of hired assassins have been let free and brought back to their rank.”
— Shaukat Siddiqui, Former Islamabad High Court Judge
As the controversy deepens, questions continue to arise about the integrity of the investigation and the commitment of Kenyan authorities to holding those responsible accountable.