LONDON: Leader of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) and religious scholar Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that he was shocked to the core when he heard that Geo anchor and renowned journalist Hamid Mir had been shot at in Karachi.
Rehman, who is visiting the UK these days, told The News that he has always respected Hamid Mir as “one of the most respected and professional journalists who are never afraid of speaking the truth and raising voice for genuine causes”.
He said his relation with Hamid Mir dates back to several years when he had still not joined Jang Group. “I cannot believe that someone would like to annihilate a person like Hamid Mir who has served Pakistan with dedication. I pray for his speedy recovery and would like him to start his popular show again”.
Mualana Rehman said that Geo is a popular news channel and shutting it down will be a big mistake. “A judicial Commission has been formed to investigate the murder attempt and surrounding circumstances of attack on Hamid Mir. It should be allowed to look into all aspects of attack on Hamid Mir and the post-attack scenario. There is no need to rush into any situation that’s regrettable. It will create a sense of imbalance. It happens in politics and media when there are situation that imbalance comes into work and feelings rise but the response should be wise and judicious.”
Maulana Rehman said that he has always respected free media and would not favour banning of any channel, while at the same time expecting the media to show responsibility and be accountable. “I have always believed in free media and am of the firm view that there should be no curbs on media. Media is suppressed only in dictatorships; all democracies allow their media to function independently and without any fear. Where there is democracy, there will always be some uncomfortable situation with media.”
He said that his party has not quit the government but has refused to take ministerial positions “as a matter of principle”. “Our current stance shows that we are not in it for our personal benefits but for politics of ideology. We have protested after our legitimate demands were not met. We have changed traditions of this country as to how politics can be done in a transparent manner. We have asked the government to respect the commitments they made to us. We will not be part of any plot to destabilise the government,” he said.