Hamid Mir survives gun attack, CPJ decries armed attack Mir

KARACHI: Unknown gunmen on motorbikes opened fire at a prominent Pakistani television anchor on a busy road on Saturday.
Hamid Mir, who hosts a popular talk show on Pakistan´s Geo News channel, was travelling to his office from the airport when his car came under attack, senior police official Peer Muhammad Shah told AFP.
“Four gunmen riding on motorbikes started firing at the car near Karsaz (east of the city) when Mir´s car was passing through, he received three bullets in the lower parts of his body,” Shah said.
Karachi police chief Shahid Hayat confirmed the incident. “Hamid Mir has received three bullets but the doctors told me that he is out of danger,” Hayat told AFP.
Geo´s Islamabad bureau Chief Rana Jawad said he had talked briefly to Mir on his mobile phone as he was under attack.
“I spoke to him briefly when he was escaping, he said they have shot him and now they were following him,” Jawad told AFP. “He has been shot thrice, in the pelvic (area), abdomen and thighs,” he added.
Mir has long been a critic of the country´s powerful intelligence agencies and military for their alleged role in the disappearance of thousands of people in Balochistan.
– Brother accuses spy agency –
Amir Mir, brother of Hamid and also a journalist, accused the country´s powerful Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of responsibility for the attack, saying the wounded television anchor had felt threatened before the attack.
“He had told me that if anything happens to him, the ISI chief General Zaheer-ul-Islam would be responsible for it,” he told.
He blamed a “disgruntled faction of the army and ISI” for attempting to assassinate his brother.
“The ISI chief was not happy with him because he exposed their human rights abuses in Balochistan, he said. “The army and its powerful intelligence agency cannot bear criticism from journalists.”
He added the army disliked perceived attacks on the military´s role in politics.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is alarmed by the continuing violence directed at journalists in Pakistan.
Geo News senior anchor Hamid Mir was shot three times soon after he and his driver left Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.
“The attack on Hamid Mir is an indicator that the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not been able to reverse the country’s appalling record of violence against journalists, despite pledges to do so,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.
“Full prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes is the only answer to reversing this history. Police must act swiftly and decisively in this and all cases that have been building up for years in Pakistan. And the country’s media must use their capabilities to pursue their own investigations, as well as pressure the government to take action.”
Hamid Mir underwent a successful operation at a private hospital in Karachi.
On March 28, gunmen sprayed the car of TV anchor and analyst Raza Rumi. He escaped serious injury, but his driver, Mustafa, was killed. Earlier in March, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to a visiting CPJ delegation to take several steps to improve journalist security.