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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Pakistani American Journalists, Community Demand Justice for Arshad Sharif

By A Correspondent

(Pakistan Week photo)

The New York-based Pakistani American journalist community has strongly condemned the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.

At a reference, organized by Raja Abid, a noted Pakistani American businessman, and his son Raja Ammar Yasir, the speakers called upon the Pakistani government to hold an independent investigation into the brutal murder of Arshad Sharif. There were calls for holding a demonstration in front of the UN building to asking the international community to link Pakistan’s aid to its freedom of press record. Raja Abid announced that if no satisfactory investigation was not held, he along with the community members and the local journalist community will sta age protest in front of the United Nations. Dunya News USA bureau chief Muaviz Asad Siddiqui conducted the program.

Duny News North America Bureau Chief Muaviz Siddiqui speaking at the reference.(Pakistan Week photo)

Raja Abid speaking at the reference. ((Pakistan Week photo)

He condemned Arshad Sharid’s assassination and said the journalist community inn the US will not rest until Arshad’s killers are brought t

Sennior journalists Mohsin Zaheer and Mujeeb Lodhi at the reference. (Pakistan Week photo)

“If you want to save the Pakistani state, save Pakistan’s media which is being threatened because the press is the fourth estate and a weakened media will mean a weakened state,” said senior Jehangir Khattak.

(Pakistan Week photo)

Senior journalist M.R. Farrukh addressing the reference. (Pakistan Week photo)

PACE Holds Fatehakhwani for Arshad Sharif 

Participants offering Fateha at the event organized by Pakistani American community organization PACE. (Pakistan Week photo)

The assassination of renowned journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya has left the Pakistani American community in North America shocked and furious. May it be the sizeable Pakistani media in New York, Washington, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, or Los Angeles, the sentiment is identical – of disbelief, dismay, disgust, anguish, and anger.

“Press writes first draft of history elsewhere in the world but in Pakistan, Arshad Sharif wrote the first draft of history with his blood,” lamented Jehangir Khattak, a New York-based senior journalist at a special prayer/Fateha organized by Pakistani American Civic Empowerment. Saeed Hassan, the moving spirit behind this vibrant organization, took the initiative and organized the Fateha for the slain journalist at Tanndoor of Lonng Island restaurant. Several Queens and Long Island-based journalists and community members, ARY’s head of North America and senior journalist Asif Jamal, senior journalist Jehangir Khattak, Mohsin Zaheer, Voice of America Pashto service Deewa TV and radio Fazlullah, Adnan Bukhari (another face of PACE), Bashir Qamar, Wakeel Ansari, Ayaz Siddiqui and several others.

Speaker after speaker, Khattak included, condemned the murder and demanded an independent investigation, making the results public and give exemplary punishment to the culprits. “Arshad lost his life because he knew too much,” said Bashir Qamar. He said those who forced Arshad Sharif to leave the country are responsible for his murder.

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(Photo via Kamran Khan’s Twitter account)

EARLIER REPORT

One of the most known names in Pakistani Journalism Arshad Sharif has been reported assassinated in Kenya, his wife Javeria Siddique confirmed early on Sunday (October 23).

“I lost friend, husband and my favorite journalist [Arshad Sharif] today, as per police he was shot in Kenya,” she tweeted.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said Pakistan’s High Commission in Kenya was ascertaining information from the authorities.

“Police in Kenya has confirmed to Pakistan Strategic Forum, through our partner defense communities in Nairobi, that Pakistani citizen Arshad Sharif was “shot in the head by armed assailants while traveling by road”, tweeted The Intel Consortium.

According to sources, Arshad Sharif also went to London from Dubai a few days ago.

The 49-year-old award-winning journalist recently featured in the trailer for a documentary titled “Behind Closed Doors”.

Condolences poured in from colleagues and politicians on the journalist’s passing death.

“My brother, my friend, my colleague Arshad Shareef was shot dead in Kenya … I still can’t believe it. It’s beyond heartbreaking. This is just wrong … this is painful … I love u brother,” ARY News anchorperson Kashif Abbasi tweeted.

Geo News anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada said he was extremely sad to hear the devastating news.

“Arshad Sharif, not just a colleague, a brother, is no more. From Islamabad to Moscow, from Dunya News to ARY, I’ve not known a finer gentleman. Shot dead. Too young. Too brutally,” Hum News anchorperson Meher Bokhari tweeted.

Senator Azam Swati also said he was devastated by the news of Sharif’s death.

Arshad Sharif had moved out of Pakistan in recent months after he lost his job reportedly due to pressure from the Pakistani government and the military. He would mince no words in saying that he had to leave Pakistan because he feared for his life. Many inside and outside Pakistan believe that the media has been under intense pressure, not seen even during martial law, since the military-backed government was installed.

“Shahbaz Sharif Govt banned hounded launched cases and forced Arshad Sharif to escape from his motherland. Finger-pointing conjectures innuendos in social media see their hands in the tragedy. PM Shahbaz Sharif must take the nation into confidence and present an official account,” tweeted Kamran Khan, one of Pakistan’s most respected journalists.

Community in the US Shocked

The news spread like jungle fire and shocked the Pakistani community across the US. “Heartfelt condolences with Arshad sharif Family. Shocked to hear the news. May Allah grant him highest place in Jannah, and may He grant you and your family the patience to endure this tragedy. He will be remembered and missed.,” wrote Mirza Khawar Beg, a known community activist based in New York in a post on his Faceboom page.

“I MISS YOU ARSHAD SHARIF. Now it’s history. Arshad Sharif a very talented, well educated and researcher journalist and media anchor. I met him in March 2022 in his office. It was my second meeting with the help of Dr. Razzaq. Very nice, humble and friendly person Arshad Sharif was. Hard for me to say “was” for him. Sad to say his no more. May Allah grant higher place in JANNAH (Aameen),” wrote Chicago-based author, poet, TV host and community activist Ethesham Arshad Nezami on his Facebook along with a photo with the slain journalist.

Faiq Siddiqui, a New York-based journalist and anchor, posted a photo of the slain journalist on his Facebook page.

“CAN’T BELIEVE ARSHAD IS GONE: But those who R trying to give it a spin “without any authentic source” must stop N wait. He was forced 2run and now is dead. Those who were under his focus are the ones responsible for his murder. BLESS YOU BRO, WE WILL FIND OUT AND FIGHT UR KILLERS,” tweeted Shaheen Sehbai, another Pakistani journalist of international fame. Sehbai appeared on Twitter space repeatedly soon after the news of Sharif’s death started making rounds. More than 1000 people joined one of the Twitter space where the mood was somber and anger by participants visible. Every speaker, Sehbai included, demanded justice for the slain journalists.

This is a developing story and will be updated…

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