Arshad Sharif stayed at penthouse in Nairobi


NAIROBI: Journalist Arshad Sharif was staying at a penthouse in an apartment building owned by businessmen brothers Waqar Ahmed and Khurram Ahmed.

A visit was made to the apartment block where Sharif spent the last 63 days of his life after arriving in Nairobi from Dubai on August 10 on a visit visa.

The building, located in a highly secure and relatively affluent area of Nairobi, has over 24 luxury flats occupied by private tenants. It’s understood that Waqar and Khurram reserved the penthouse exclusively for Sharif where the slain journalist stayed for over two months before his tragic killing some three hours out of Nairobi in a deserted area.

This is the same penthouse from where Sharif did his vlogs on YouTube after being removed from his job at a private channel.

The penthouse building has been visited by investigators who met Waqar Ahmed at the site for several hours and asked him questions about Sharif’s routine and what Waqar and Khurram knew about Sharif’s stay for two months.

Khurram and Waqar are originally from Karachi and both own and run several big property projects in Nairobi. They own a farmhouse and firing shooting camp some 300 hours out of the capital where Sharif was last seen before his death.

Sharif provided details of the same penthouse apartment to the police when obtaining a visa for Kenya. He told the immigration authorities that he will be staying at the same apartment as it was owned by his main sponsor in Kenya, Waqar Ahmed, who arranged invitation and hospitality for Sharif at the request of a British-Pakistani businessman based in Dubai.

The apartment building is tall and located off a road just 10 minutes away from the Pakistan High Commission in Nairobi. This location is known to the local Pakistani and Indian community and it is widely known that Waqar Ahmed and his brother had developed the building and put it on rent.

The building is located next to a huge tower owned by an Indian businessman. In the neighbourhood, mostly foreigners, well off professionals and middle-class people either own or rent out flats.

The entry to the building is by invitation only and no one is allowed beyond the gate unless the flat owners permit so. At any time, the reception is manned by two to three security guards with guns.

Their lawyer, however, stressed that Sharif was killed in a case of mistaken identity. Speaking on their behalf, Daniel Kiragu told The News that Kenyan police have said the same.

He said: “The Kenyan police issued a statement and regretted the shooting as a case of mistaken identity. That’s all we know for now. The investigations are still ongoing and our clients are fully cooperating with the investigation.”

However, this is not an account many in Kenya and Pakistan are prepared to believe. The Kenyan police contradicted its own statement of first saying that Sharif was killed in a case of mistaken identity at a roadblock and then alleged that shots were fired at the police from inside Sharif’s car and that he was killed when the response unit fired back.

After arriving in the Kenyan capital on Wednesday, The News investigation team revealed that slain journalist Sharif’s visit visa to Kenya was sponsored and he didn’t get an entry visa on arrival. The letter by the investigators confirms revelation by The News which was based on information passed by the immigration officials and senior Pakistani diplomats familiar with the investigation.

The sponsor letter to Mr Sharif to visit Kenya was sent by Waqar Ahmed, brother of Khurram Ahmed who was driving Sharif on the fateful night of 23rd of October 2022 when Sharif died.

Both Waqar and Khurram have been questioned by Pakistan’s investigation team - FIA director Athar Wahid and Intelligence Bureau (IB) deputy director general Omar Shahid Hamid - to ascertain the facts of the journalist’s murder.

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