ISLAMABAD: Prominent Pakistani anchorman Arshad Sharif was shot dead in Kenya, his wife said on Monday, while the Kenyan media reported that the journalist was killed by police in a case of “mistaken identity.”
Sharif’s talk show “Power Play” for years aired Monday to Thursday on the ARY news channel, which has been critical of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the military.
He was himself considered a harsh critic of the current ruling coalition and army and fled the country in August after remarks by a politician on a news bulletin he hosted were deemed “seditious” by the country’s media regulator and government.
In August, weeks after the channel was suspended over the allegedly seditious comments and its license revoked, it announced it was parting ways with Sharif.
“I lost a friend, husband, and my favorite journalist (Arshad Sharif) today, as per police he was shot in Kenya,” his wife Javeria Siddique said in a tweet. “Respect our privacy. Remember us in your prayers.”
Kenya’s Star newspaper reported that Sharif was “shot in the head and killed by police after he and his driver allegedly breached a roadblock that had been set up to check on motor vehicles using the route.”
Sharif and his driver were traveling from Magadi town to the capital Nairobi when they were flagged down at a roadblock manned by police officers, police told the Star.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority in Kenya would investigate the killing, the newspaper said.
“We had an incident of shooting which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity involving a journalist. We will release more information later,” a senior Kenyan police officer was quoted as saying.
“According to police, at the roadblock, there was a call for police to intercept a car similar to the one they were driving following a carjacking incident in Pangani area, Nairobi where a child was taken hostage.
“And a few minutes later, Sharif’s car emerged at the roadblock, and they were stopped and asked to identify themselves,” the Star said.
“They allegedly failed to stop and drove past the roadblock. This prompted a brief chase and shooting that left Sharif dead. Their car rolled and his driver was injured and taken to hospital.”
In a statement, Pakistan’s Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Sharif’s body had been identified by the country’s high commissioner, Syeda Saqlain, in Kenya, adding that the legal process for its repatriation had also been launched.
The minister said Pakistani authorities in Nairobi had requested local officials to complete the regulatory process as soon as possible.
Prior to that, she called Sharif’s mother to offer condolences and share all the information available with the government related to the killing of her son.
The Pakistani PM also expressed his sadness over the news of Sharif’s death and took to Twitter to offer condolences to his family. President Arif Alvi, who in 2019 presented him with the Pride of Performance award, said it was “a great loss.”
Pakistan’s military media wing, the ISPR, also issued a brief condolence statement.
In a tweet, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that the incident had sent “shock waves through the journalist community” in the country, and it called for a “transparent inquiry” into the circumstances of Sharif’s death.
A demand for a “judicial investigation” was also made by former prime minister, Imran Khan, who in a tweet said: “Shocked at the brutal murder of Arshad Sharif who paid the ultimate price for speaking the truth – his life.
“He had to leave the country and be in hiding abroad but he continued to speak the truth on social media, exposing the powerful. Today the entire nation mourns his death.”
Billionaire Elon Musk said on Monday in a filing that he will be the chief executive officer of Twitter, the social media company he recently acquired for $44 billion.
The move comes after Musk, who also runs Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, fired Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and other top company officials last week.
Musk previously changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit” in a sign alluding to this move.
Last week, Musk’s takeover of the social media company for $44 billion concluded a months-long saga.
Since then, Musk has moved quickly to begin making changes at the company, which he had ridiculed for months for being slow to introduce product changes or take down spam accounts.
Musk’s teams began meeting with some employees to investigate Twitter’s software code and understand how aspects of the platform worked, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Some staff who spoke with Reuters said they had received little communication from Musk or other leaders and were using news reports to piece together what was happening at the company.
WASHINGTON: A US judge ruled on Monday that a planned $2.2 billion merger of Penguin Random House, the world’s largest book publisher and owned by German media group Bertelsmann SE & Co, may not merge with rival Simon & Schuster, owned by Paramount Global.
DUBAI: Nike has launched in the Middle East its “Sport is Never Done” campaign, which highlights the lifelong benefits of physical play for kids.
As part of the campaign, the brand recently took over Riyadh Boulevard to screen a 90-second promotional film “Rise of the Kids,” which challenges parental misconceptions about children becoming actively engaged in sports.
“Saudi Arabia is a key market for us in this region, and we hope to ignite among its valued community a new perception of playful movements,” Mohammed Bodiat, senior vice president of brands and sports with Gulf Marketing Group, Nike’s official distributor in the Middle East, told Arab News.
The promotional film, produced for the region by creative agency Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, features children taking part in a variety of sports and repeating some of the comments their parents or other adults might make about them taking part in such activities, before displaying their amazing abilities.
For example, a girl playing soccer says, “I’m just wasting my time,” before showing off her incredible skills on the pitch. A boy playing golf says, “This better not affect my grades,” before making a complex series of mental calculations required to make the perfect shot.
Since its launch on YouTube a month ago, the film has been viewed more than 21 million times, setting a record for the brand.
The film “puts the kids of the Middle East at the forefront” and its success “underscores the region’s receptiveness to our message,” said Bodiat.
In addition to the film, the holistic campaign includes activities across the region, including workshops in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh where families can get active together and parents can learn to better understand their own role in children’s relationships with sports.
Nike has also created an immersive retail experience in its Dubai Mall store to help kids discover what kind of sports they might like to try.
The brand also published a book on Oct. 25 titled “5 Minutes More,” which is designed to help parents and kids discover the benefits of sports. The free book is available in English and Arabic as a hardback in print and an e-book on www.nikeneverdone.com.
RIYADH: The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced that MBC Group will return as a partner organization for the second edition of the festival, which begins on Dec. 1.
The organizers of RSIFF said they will work with the group, described as the largest and leading media company in the Middle East and North Africa region, to promote film culture and help audiences throughout the Arab world, and beyond, to discover the acclaimed films due to be screened during the 10-day festival.
They added that MBC will play an important role in the organization of a number of mentoring and training sessions as part of the Talent Days section of the festival program on Dec. 7 and 8, in keeping with the event’s mission to contribute to the development of the film industry in the Kingdom.
Talent Days, which includes workshops, speeches, panel discussions and more, is intended to develop and equip aspiring and emerging producers, scriptwriters and filmmakers in the region with the tools and knowledge they need to excel in the film industry. The program will feature renowned local, regional and international industry experts who will cover a wide range of industry issues.
“Cinema mirrors society and impacts it, and can be leveraged to drive forward positive change,” said RSIFF CEO Mohammed Al-Turki.
“We’re thrilled to collaborate once again with MBC Group — the leading media group in the region — as our Festival partner, as it bolsters our efforts to facilitate the growth of the film industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world, allowing ideas to transcend geographical boundaries.”
MBC CEO Sam Barnett, said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is home to fantastic entertainment and film talent, and with the recent developments that have helped encourage and inspire the future stars of the industry, we at MBC Group are fully invested in amplifying this vision.
“We’re delighted to be, once again, partnering with the Red Sea International Film Festival as we look forward to welcoming a sensational second edition.”
The strategic partnership will also award prizes to selected projects by Saudi and Arab directors as part of the Red Sea Souk and Red Sea Lodge platforms. The former aims to discover Arab and African filmmakers and connect them with the international film community, while the latter features a number of projects developed throughout the year during intensive workshops in partnership with the Torino Film Lab.
The project awarded first place will receive $120,000, the second $70,000 and the third $40,000 to help develop and produce their projects.
LONDON: Coldplay showed their support for Iran’s cause during their concert in Buenos Aires on Sunday by playing “Baraye,” the anthem of the protest movement, alongside Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani.
The British rock band performed the song in what was described by fans as an “emotional act” at their sold-out gig, which was broadcast live to more than 80 countries.
Farahani, who has been forced into exile since 2009 after her appearance in an American film sparked controversy in her home country, joined the band to sing the song in Farsi, the official language of Iran.
“We would like to do something to show that we support all the women and everybody fighting for freedom in Iran,” Martin said addressing the 72,000 crowd.
“Maybe you see on the news right now that there are so many places where people are not able to gather like this and be free to be themselves.
“Whether that is to listen to what they want to listen to, to wear what they want to wear, to think what they want to think, to love who they want to love, and particularly at the moment this is very clear in Iran.”
The song was written by Shervin Hajipour based on tweets from Iranians expressing their outrage at their government’s actions following the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police in September.
Hajipour uploaded the song on Sept. 27 and it amassed 40 million views before his arrest. Demonstrators picked up the chant and it quickly became a symbol of Iranian protest.
Martin added: “We decided that there’s a very beautiful and famous song now in Iran by a sweet guy called Shervin Hajipour. He has a song called ‘Baraye’ and we asked our friend Gol (Farahani) if she would come and sing this with us.
“Now, this song is in Farsi so I can’t really sing it, but we’re going to sing it together and we send this with love from Buenos Aires.”
Iran has endured more than 40 days of anti-government protests with demonstrations taking place in more than 80 cities across the country.
The uprising has taken place in the face of a government crackdown which has resulted in the deaths of more than 250 people.
Iranian expatriate communities and celebrities have shown their support through a number of gestures, including women cutting their hair and burning hijabs.