ISLAMABAD: Pakistan may not be the safest place for journalism, but it does breed brave, undeterred, upright and honest journalists like Hamid Mir, who could not be silenced through violence.
During the past few weeks, a sustained campaign has started where journalists are being threatened, harassed and attacked.
However, Pakistani journalists are not alien to attacks as since 2000, according to some reports, more than 100 journalists have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty while several others were attacked, tortured and threatened, but all such incidents could not stop the journalists from bringing the truth before the general public.
Unfortunately, the attackers/killers of journalists roam Scot free as not even a single case has reached its logical conclusion.
Of late, senior journalist Raza Rumi was attacked in Lahore in which his driver was killed. Recently, Editor Investigation, The News Ansar Abbasi, and senior journalist Ahmad Noorani received threats through various means and now Hamid Mir has been attacked.
Earlier Najam Sethi of Geo had also received several threats.
Apart from his bravery, Hamid Mir is known for his support of journalist community irrespective of the organisations they work for.
Whether it was attack on Raza Rumi or threats to Ansar Abbasi and Ahmad Noorani or the issue of journalist Jamal Tarkai, who was forced to leave Balochistan or the issue of Umar Cheema, The News journalist who was abducted, harassed and tortured in the federal capital, Hamid Mir was the loudest voice of protest on killing of Geo’s reporter Musa Khankhel Shaheed from Swat.
Not only this, the murder of Geo’s reporter Wali Khan Babar also got unprecedented coverage in Capital Talk, the television programme Hamid Mir hosts. Hamid Mir was also the frontrunner in protesting against the murder of Saleem Shahzad. It was Hamid Mir, who appeared in every protest for freedom of press and always lent his shoulders to support the journalist community. Just to quote one incident, Hamid Mir volunteered himself to appear before the judicial commission formed on National Insurance Company Limited scam in which ex-Interior Minister Rehman Malik pushed five journalists to reveal their sources, and it was because of Hamid Mir that the journalist community won a historic case and the judicial commission handed down verdict that journalists cannot be compelled to reveal their sources even in the witness box of the court.
The state of journalism in Pakistan could easily be judged from the fact that in 2013 alone, at least eleven journalists were killed while on duty. Similarly, each year around a dozen journalists sacrifice their lives which makes Pakistan the most difficult country for journalism but on the other hand, such sacrifices also blow a new zeal among the working journalists that they could not be killed but not silenced.
Hamid Mir has been supporting the Pakistan Army and its intelligence agencies for their successes, but he also has been critic of army’s political meddling. He has been highlighting the negative role of Pakistan’s military establishment in ruining the political system of the country and has been very local on the issue of missing persons especially from Balochistan which,
by no means, makes him an enemy of the State of Pakistan.
The problem with Hamid Mir is that he cannot remain silent on negative role of intelligence agencies that is why he was threatened by a few elements in the agencies which he conveyed to his friends and family.
The attackers of Hamid Mir should keep it in mind that the issue never settles by silencing the messenger but by understanding the message.
Since Pakistan’s birth, there have remained Hamid Mirs in media who would never bow before the wrongs and this legacy continues.
“Hamid Mir had strongly protested against attacks on Saleem Shehzad, Umar Cheema, Raza Rumi, Wali Babar, Musa Khankhel and threats to Sethi, Abbasi, Noorani and others”