South Asia

Judicial panel to probe attack on Hamid Mir

Hamid Mir in a file photo  

As journalists and civil society members protested the attack on Geo TV anchorperson Hamid Mir in Karachi on Saturday, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif constituted a three- member Judicial Commission to inquire into the incident.

A formal request will be made to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to nominate three members, an official statement on Sunday said. The government has announced a reward of Rs 10 million for any information leading to the arrest of those involved. Journalists and activists gathered to condemn the latest attack at the National Press Club.

The attack on Mr. Mir has been strongly denounced all over the ountry and the government has come under fire after this incident. While he was being attacked Mr. Mir called up his friend and colleague Rana Jawad, resident editor, Geo TV in Islamabad and said he was shot and being pursued by his assailants.

A shocked Mr. Jawad said that Mr. Mir reached hospital in a critical condition and the bullets had ripped through his abdomen, pelvis and thigh and ruptured the large intestine. There was internal bleeding and doctors worked for more than four hours to restore his condition to some kind of normalcy. Though he has been declared out of danger, his condition is still critical medically and he may need another examination as one or two bullets were still inside his body. It will take another 72 hours before the doctors can judge the extent of damage this shooting has caused. He said no vital organ was damaged luckily and the situation was not life threatening any more. Latest reports said he was shot six times.

Mr. Jawad said that the first right to divulge information about his attackers is with the family and his brother spoke up about threats and named the ISI chief. It is an allegation and it has to be investigated. Hamid was anticipating this attack and had mentioned it to his friends but unfortunately the media is divisive and not on the same page. Instead of taking the allegation seriously it is being seen an attempt to malign an institution, Mr. Jawad said.

The police have registered a case, and Mr. Jawad said he had spoken to the Karachi police chief who was confident of leads in a couple of days as there were a number of eye witnesses which enabled the police to draw a sketch of the attackers. The registration number of the motorcycle used by an attacker was also with the police. Mr. Mir had gone to Karachi for a live programme on Sunday, which will now be aired without him. Ms Asma Shirazi, journalist and anchorperson for Dawn News said “We all knew the attack on Hamid Mir was coming. He was talking about Baloch missing persons, he was anti Taliban and he had an obvious point of view. His phone was tapped, his movements were known. He had cancelled a trip to Quetta and was going to Karachi and he was clearly being observed and was targeted at the first opportunity.”

'Pressure on media'

Journalists also greeted the appointment of a judicial commission with a sense of déjà vu. Matiullah Jan, anchorperson from Waqt TV and member of the Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists said that, “We are passing through a difficult phase and there is tension between the democratic and undemocratic forces. The attack on Hamid is a continuation of threats and it highlights the crisis of the media.

This blatant attack is a strong message to pressure the media as Hamid was highlighting several human rights issues. He showed a lot of courage and it shows how difficult it is for journalists to work in Pakistan.”

He said even asking for a fair investigation was too much to expect.

In the case of Saleem Shahzad who was killed a few years ago the probe by a Supreme Court judge was incomplete. Governments are not asserting their constitutional authority, he added.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 6:29:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/judicial-panel-to-probe-attack-on-hamid-mir/article5931196.ece

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