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Judicial commission to probe journalist Arshad Sharif’s killing in Kenya: Marriyum Aurangzeb

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has decided to form a judicial commission headed by a high court judge to conduct a probe into the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announced on Tuesday.

The minister said that the decision was taken by the premier to ascertain the facts leading to the journalist’s killing on the outskirts of the capital.

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 police report on Monday.

A Kenyan police watchdog has said it is investigating the incident, which happened at 10 pm (1900 GMT) on Sunday.

A senior police officer told The Star newspaper that the shooting was being treated as a case of mistaken identity. The circumstances of Sharif’s death sparked widespread outrage in Pakistan and calls for an investigation.

The police report said a relative of Sharif had been driving the car. It said police had formed a roadblock using small stones, but the car drove through without stopping, even after officers opened fire. Nine bullets hit the car, and one hit Sharif in the head.

Kenya’s Independent Police Oversight Authority, a civilian watchdog, has started an investigation into Sharif’s killing, its chairwoman Ann Makori told journalists in a news conference on Monday.

“There’s an alleged police killing of a Pakistani national at Tinga market, Kajiado county, last evening. Our rapid response team has already been dispatched,” she said.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said its high commissioner in Kenya was in touch with local police and the foreign office and a police report is awaited.

The prime minister said on Twitter that he had spoken by phone to Kenyan President William Ruto about the incident.

“I requested him to ensure a fair and transparent investigation into the shocking incident. He promised all-out help including fast-tracking the process of return of the body,” said the premier.

Sharif’s death sparked widespread reaction on social media in Pakistan from officials, journalists, and others.

Former prime minister Imran Khan condemned the death and said Sharif had been murdered for his journalistic work. He called for a judicial investigation into the incident.

Washington also urged Kenya to investigate

“We’re deeply saddened by the death of Arshad Sharif. We encourage a full investigation by the government of Kenya into his death,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

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