CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Pakistan's Hamid Mir publicizes a death threat

Geo TV's most prominent television anchor, and one of the most prominent journalists in Pakistan, has just circulated a detailed email message of threats he has been receiving. Hamid Mir's open, public response to the threats is a textbook case of how to handle the steady stream of intimidation that journalists face, not just in Pakistan but in other parts of the world as well. His entire message is reproduced at the end of this post.

There is an additional sense of urgency in this case: Umar Cheema, The News reporter who was abducted and beaten in 2010, and who is no stranger to threats himself, told me in an email: "The reason for taking the latest threat [to Mir] seriously is that I have faced the trouble in same manner, so we suspect the same mastermind."

CPJ has written a lot about threats in Pakistan, and their debilitating effect. At this moment CPJ's Journalists Assistance program is working with a few other Pakistani journalists who are under threat for specific reporting, but I do not have their permission to publicize the details of their cases.

While the threat to Mir appears to be from supporters of the military/security establishment, if not officials within the government itself, threats to journalists come from everywhere. Pakistani reporters are targeted by all sides to the country's conflicts --- religious militants, political factions fighting turf  battles in violent cities like Karachi, competing secessionist groups in Baluchistan, and all the militarily active parties along the border with Afghanistan, as well as drug runners and gun dealers.

CPJ today released its list of journalists killed in 2011, and Pakistan tops the list with seven, five of whom died in targeted killings, killed specifically for their work as journalists. Last year, Pakistan shared the dubious distinction of being the world's worst with eight deaths, but only two of those were targeted deaths; the others came during dangerous assignments. Twenty-nine journalists have been killed in the country in the past five years. There has been near-perfect impunity in the deaths of journalists for almost a decade.

CPJ met with President Asif Ali Zardari and Interior Minister Rehman Malik in May, on World Press Freedom Day. We were promised an active response in dealing with such threats, but in the ensuing months none was forthcoming. It has become clear that Pakistan's journalists cannot rely on the government for their own protection, and the threats at times even seem to come from the government. While keeping pressure on the government, CPJ has shifted tactics to encouraging the country's press corps to act assertively in securing their own protection. One of the simplest methods is to do exactly as Hamid Mir has done in this case --- make the threat as widely known as possible.

Here is Mir's email message:

Dear Friends,

I would like to inform you that I received an SMS message at my blackberry today at 11:47 pm which said "i have not seen a real bastard than you. i wish somebody comes and strip you naked. i hope some Army man has not done real dirty with your dear ones." This SMS was reaction of my show Capital Talk which was going on at that time on Geo TV in a repeat telecast.

I responded to this SMS and I got another message from the same number again (03335245252). Within few seconds another SMS from 03318175319 declared me a CIA, RAW and MOSSAD agent. I have received these kinds of threatening messages usually from intelligence agencies in the past. When I responded these messages quickly and told them to go court against me they were silent.

These recent threats are related to two recent shows on Geo TV. I discussed a story in The Independent in the UK reported by Omar Warraich on December 14th and raised questions about the political role of DG ISI [Director General of the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate Ahmad Shuja Pasha]. A constitutional petition was filed by [Community Party Chairman] Engineer Jamil Malik on December 19th in the Supreme Court of Pakistan [asking the court to remove Gen. Pasha] and I was included in the petition as one of the respondents. I came to know about this petition in the evening of December 19th. The same evening I discussed the press conference of Baloch leader Attaullah Mengal on my TV show. Mengal criticized Pakistan Army atrocities against Balochis. This show was aired in the evening of December 19th and repeated in the morning of December 20th between 11 and 12.

I am sure that security establishment of Pakistan is once again angry with all those who will raise questions about the political role of Army. If anything bad happens with me or my "dear ones" the security establishment will be responsible.

Hamid Mir

December 20, 2011 1:54 PM ET | | Comments (46)

Comments

Allegation against Army & ISI appears to be on political ground .Most of TV talk show hosts in Pakistan are on pay role of political parties , establishment & religious organizations .The govt. must provide protection to every citizen.Hamid Mir wants to increase rating of his program by naming army/ISI

its true.. specially the journalists in Balochitan are not free to speak.. may allah safe hamid from those who raped bangali women in 1971.

long live Hamid mir

I pray for you safty.

Hamid Mir, was pawn of the Paki establishment, back in the days when he interviewed Ben Laden.
Now I've heard, he works for Nawaz Sharif.
In that country, you can't tell, who is doing what. Pakistanis are strange. While dealing with them, expect the unexpected.

Very strange and beyond understanding that how a blue eye chap of military and civil establishment as well as of Taliban threatens by his masters.. He was always and is a pro military, pro establishment and pro terrorists and extreme right wing journalist

pervaiz sani lot of people believe that most of the TV talk shows are on pay role of ISI . How can a elected government provide protection to its citizen when president himself is not safe. Down with miliatry establishment and its alliance with religious fundamentalists, extremists and terrorists

I read a new book on Hamid Mir by author Ziaul Haq.I am worried about the life of Mr.Mir and his family.He was kidnapped first time by ISI in 1990.Then he was kidnapped by intelligence agencies after his interview with Israeli FM Shamon Peres in Switzerland.Hamid Mir lost his job first time in 1994 for exposing the corruption of PPP government.Then he was attacked by Nawaz Sharif government in 1998.He was again picked up by ISI after his interview with Osama bin Laden in November 2001.He was declared a traitor by Pakistan Army spokesman on Pakistan Television when he exposed the killers of journalist Hayatullah Khan in 2006.He was banned on Geo TV by dictator Pervez Musharraf for four months in 2007.He sent his family outside Pakistan for 6 months same year.He was again banned by PPP government in June 2008 for supporting deposed judges.He ppointed his fingers towards Army after the murder of his colleague Musa Khankhel in 2009 in Swat.His school going kids were attacked when he recorded evidence in missing persons case in Supreme Court in 2009.He faced threats for raising voice for missing persons in 2010.ISI tried to involve him in a fake tape scandal but nothing was proved against him and courts cleared him.He named ISI when his colleague Umar Cheema was kidnapped and tortured.He was the one who exposed the killers of journalist Wali Khan Baabar in Karachi.Hamid Mir was very vocal against ISI after the murder of journalist Saleem Shehzad and he played major role for the establishment of an inquiry commission.He is very popular and have millions of fans but he also have too many enemies.US Ambassador Patterson disliked him for exposing Blackwater in Pakistan.Taliban threatened him for condemning suicide attacks.ISI hate him because he criticize the Army interference in politics.I recenrtly heard his lecture in Peshawar University on the threats to media and realized journalism very difficult in this country.Pakistani government must provide him some protection.

Albert,if you visit wikipedia or google you can see Hamid Mir pictures not only with bin Laden but also with Tony Blair,Hillary Clinton,Pervez Musharraf,Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamid_Mir

The journalists are in danger either at the hands of Pakistan Army or the US officials killing Reuters journalists. The role of Pakistan's Army and its complicit relation with USA (against the Communist Govt in Kabul and Soviet Union) is nodoubt vicious, there are some areas, where the otherwise is true. Hamid Mir has himself been a mouthpiece for the Army's pro-Jehad mindset and Pakistani-Right Wing mentality (which endorses the former). So if he gets a threatening SMS, he puts a blame on his erstshile inspiration(ISI). Hamid Mir should have tried to investigate the identity of senders (which indeed is possible in Pakistan, if one lodges complaint).

There is no God, but ISI????????

Well, that's not new. I am not a journalist by any definition; remembering Dec 1971, I tweeted the other day 'instrument of surrender' signed by Gen. Niazi on the fall of dacca to Indian Forces. In return, I received quite similar messages on my twitter, which I simply retweeted; following that the guy simply deleted his profile. From the words used in such threats, one can easily identify the profession of such person, "Blood Civilians", "Bastards" et al are very popular amongst the officers of Army in Pakistan.

We are with you Hamid and you are speeking truth and Allah also with those who speek truth. so dont worry and conti speeking truth

i dnt knw when Pakistan vl hv a peaceful environ where no one would confined to uplift his/her voice ...we hv lost evry thing ,our institutions got corrupt ,even 6 years kids gets rape oftently and leads to death ,mothers are knocking doors for justice tht needs no time to hang them ,poverty became the hidden killers as many people committed suicide,, guys are jobless. women rights ...the list goes on , nw i m wondering ,,,simple evry body looking for his/her own pocket , no one thinks for common interest,, do u knw that in other countries individuals gets corrupt bt in pakistan institutions got corrupt so ist it sounding barbaric ,hy u all plzzzzzzzzz think for this soil , work for this soil , contribute to the country , dnt let down our country image , lets gets patriotic first and lets starting work to uplift our great country . Pakistan is very unhappy from all of the citizens and regretting us daily with this thought
" of my citizens why are u degrading me ? why r u ruining me ? why are you so inhuman and only thinks for ur lust ? why are you so spoiled that forgotten my respect ,prosperity ,well being,unity , sense of Harmony,better utilization of my resources for the common interest " but we give no healthy response to our country and making Pakistan cry . lets understand our country regrets and starting value and respect evry one just for making pakistan happier becz no sensible human wants to see his/her mother crying and this soil is our mother .
regards .

As Mr. Pervaiz rightly said that Hamid Mir is dying to increase the rating of his program Capital Talk. Besides that there are few things need to be looked into:
1. One should not forget that Hamid Mir is openly blamed for having links with Pakistani Taliban and he is generally held responsible for the murders of Khawaja Khalid and Col Imam. Those who have any doubt can Google that audio of his conversation with Taliban, on net.
2. He remained controversial for his over projected interview with Osma Bin Laden which sane readers doubted that HM actually interviewed Shiekh Osama.
3. Hamid's journalistic career has remained dubious, all along for his links with intelligence agencies including IB, ISI, CIA and many others.
4. We are asking for the politicians' asset, why not to ask about the assetts of journalists like Hamid Mir, Najam Sethi, Marvi Sarmad, Nusrat Javeed, Imtiaz Alam and others. The people should ask Hamid about his financial standing before he was daily Ausaf's editor.
Now coming to this so-called threatening mail. Just look at few things:
1. In this muck where everyone is orchestrating the same symphony 'malign army and ISI', what is so special about Hamid Mir that army is afraid of him? If his logic is bought that means that army should eliminate the whole journalist band?
2. Why should army send him a threatening sms instead of just (as he suspects) wiping him out? Why would army resort to a childish approach? I think people have seen but not Hamid Mir the greatest movie 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' where villain says, "If you have to shoot then shoot. Don't talk.'
Actually Hamid Mir has left with nothing more to sell so he has reverted to this option. He is hitting 2 birds with one stone. Trying to increase his popularity, joining the anti armed forces band and ensuring his security. Very smart of him but public is not having short memory anymore.
Hamid Mir! I request you please not to label me now as an army stooge. Please keep that title for yourself because soon people will come to know about you.

Mr. Hamid Mir might have received such threatening emails as many other journalists and anchor persons claim so but its irrational to blame Pakistan's Army on the basis of mere assumptions and without any solid proof. It is highly unjustified and looks like a part of traditional Indian and US propaganda against our security forces. If I were army; I would have sued Mr. Hamid Mir and other such persons for their attempts to demoralize army.

I think it has become not only a fashion to allege Pak army but a way to get fame as well as the way to get yourself registered SOMEWHERE.

What justified is to lodge a complaint with police and let them investigate and catch the actual culprits instead of blaming anyone.

Dear Hamid Meer Sb... i gone through the SMS published by you.. still i am doubtfull that any one from esteblishment or from PAK ARMY could not write such wordings or MSG.. it may be something from our national enimies... but sir it is really a shamfull act who did this.. we are with you .. we all love you/// regards
FAZAL DIN
0333-2247246
Karachi

Keep your deads straight, no one would harm you but if you are being paid extra salarly underhand by some politicans for some obvious reason, then i am sorry you are blacksheep :)

Disagree with what he says mostly but his stand against the politics of Army n ISI is something I agree with totally.

Army should stop such things and should give respect to all the citizens of Pakistan

Dear Hamid Mir, You and our key journalists are playing a key role in changing Pakistan. Please keep it up and Allah will protect you from these forces which do not understand changing world.

i do not have any concern,that hamid mir is trying to increase his rating with such msgs but every one in media is aware that numbers of journalists are kidnapped,beaten and killed in islamabad.
still their cases are not been solved because there is something behind the seen.
we just pray for your life.

Praying for your safety

It is really sad, alarming and condemnable that Senior Pakistani Journalist and a popular tv anchor Hamid Mir is facing threat so the government and investigative agencies should take serious step to give him protection and probe the matter that who is behind these threats. Unfortunately the journalist community always under the line of fire in Pakistan. My own elder brother Islamabad based Senior Journalist resident editor PPI newsagency Malik Muhammad Ismail Khan had been brutally murdered on the night of 31st October 2006 in Islamabad in mysterious circumstances and up until now the murderers are at still at large and there is no head way that who was behind the murderer.

In pakistan i see no existence of Allah.... I see only Cruelity of Govt. and Pro USA AND DOLLAR WORSHIPERS. MILITARY HAS NOTHING ABOUT PEOPLE AND POOR PEOPLE.
wE ARE STRONGELY CONTROOLED A FEAR THAT COMES FROM usa. we are terrified to die by hunger and poverity if we are not supoosed to sit and ally with USA.

See.. (TALKING IN GENERAL NOT ONLY IN MIR's CASE) these are things that people do not think about when they sit together, have lunches, take dinners, coffees, and pocket envelops, etc
Now, at those times they do not write emails to tell people who they are working for, but when it comes to threats and life is in danger, suddenly they start calling family members (journalist community) to keep them safe from those they were feeding upon.
bullshit,,,we dont have any space within our community for those being paid,,,

Hamid,

I am not your fan, but I salute you for taking such a bold step.

In solidarity,

Qais

Hamid Mir is also part of the campaign against Army/ISI, nothing more than that. At least, he is not working for Pakistan but someone else. Instead of cursing Army/ISI, produce quality politicians to shut up unseen forces. With people like Zardari, Gilani, Rehman Malik & Babar Awan, can you control Army/ISI. Come on and sense reality.

My name is Saadullah Akhter and I am from Pakistan's backward province Baluchistan.I really appreciate for what CPJ has done for Journalists around the world. But I have some complains not from CPJ from all international and national organizations who have been working for protect journalists.I know its not an appropriate time to complain but I am so dis heart.I am a Non Linear Editor in a local news TV of Pakistan.In Pakistan CPJ and other international organizations are totally focusing on journalists.We NLEs are also a part of a media.Here in Pakistan no one's ever conducted any workshop,events or other efforts for NLEs.I my self also had injured on 7th september's blast in Quetta,we also working with journalists so if they are doing their work under threats so as we are doing.At the end I just requesting from CPJ to seems us as a vital part of media.
Thank you.

i am a sindhi nationalist and defends right of sindhi in the state of pakista.
Hamid Mir, an punjabi anchorperson belongs to lahore. in my observation he is one of leading journalist and loyal to the state. his questions regarding ISI are totally justified and he had dared to deal the matter at open forum. state should be responsible, in case of any incident with him or his family.
SINDHI

if ISI is doing such things then what is the difference between tehrik taliban and ISI. if taliban r brutal then ISI is not less in brutality. ISI pls stop such things.

This is totally baseless agenda by Hamid Meer. if we look at his recent activities, he is clearly working on the behest of Zardari Clan, Because, after silence of Hussain Haqani, Zardari Hired Hamid for his portrayals, and suddenly Mr. Hamid has come to know about secret agencies wicked motives.
Mr. Hamid has been in touch with secret agencies since 9/11 which gave him sudden rise to fame for his meeting with Usama.
We wish Hamid, all the safety, Best of Health BUT NEUTRAL Journalism.

Why don't Mr. Hamid Mir investigate this SMS instead of simply criticizing Govt / Army. Why he is not taking this matter to court and ask for official help? Is it because his inner guilt is not letting him follow proper path?

As Mr. Pervaiz rightly said that Hamid Mir is dying to increase the rating of his program Capital Talk. Besides that there are few things need to be looked into:
1. One should not forget that Hamid Mir is openly blamed for having links with Pakistani Taliban and he is generally held responsible for the murders of Khawaja Khalid and Col Imam. Those who have any doubt can Google that audio of his conversation with Taliban, on net.
2. He remained controversial for his over projected interview with Osma Bin Laden which sane readers doubted that HM actually interviewed Shiekh Osama.
3. Hamid's journalistic career has remained dubious, all along for his links with intelligence agencies including IB, ISI, CIA and many others.
4. We are asking for the politicians' asset, why not to ask about the assetts of journalists like Hamid Mir, Najam Sethi, Marvi Sarmad, Nusrat Javeed, Imtiaz Alam and others. The people should ask Hamid about his financial standing before he was daily Ausaf's editor.
Now coming to this so-called threatening mail. Just look at few things:
1. In this muck where everyone is orchestrating the same symphony 'malign army and ISI', what is so special about Hamid Mir that army is afraid of him? If his logic is bought that means that army should eliminate the whole journalist band?
2. Why should army send him a threatening sms instead of just (as he suspects) wiping him out? Why would army resort to a childish approach? I think people have seen but not Hamid Mir the greatest movie 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' where villain says, "If you have to shoot then shoot. Don't talk.'
Actually Hamid Mir has left with nothing more to sell so he has reverted to this option. He is hitting 2 birds with one stone. Trying to increase his popularity, joining the anti armed forces band and ensuring his security. Very smart of him but public is not having short memory anymore.
Hamid Mir! I request you please not to label me now as an army stooge. Please keep that title for yourself because soon people will come to know about you.

Dear Mir Sb,

Sir in my views you are doing your job with sincerity and your shows doesn’t have one sided image on any issue except causing some extra popularity of Mr. Imran Khan in past. All my prayers and best wishes are with you. No doubt as a journalist you are big asset for Pakistan and we respect you a lot. May Allah bless you and your family. Best Regards.

if you want to save pakistan pti ,pmln and jamat islami shod fight together and make a grate alliance and please all of you try to save My Pakistan. Thankyou

ISI should not act like a "thanedar". or like a mafia leader. this is very cheap act. Already you have murdered many journalists, like saleem shahzad, hayatullah khan, Musa khan khail, etc. please stop this brutal murders at the name of national interest or national security.

Mr. Hamid Mir, a person who can take action does not need to use words as is the case of Army or ISI. You should have been a politician in Pakistan. You act and behave like them. Truly felt shame. Just for the sake of your program's rating...

It is good that some body give threat bcos wants rating of your show thats why blaming ISI and army. I am very happy to see your tears as you are against of Pashtuns. Ling Live PK army and ISI, hamid mir murda bad.

O My sweet Hamid Mir, don't underestimate our ISI. They don't need to send you SMS if Army really wanna kill you. It will take only 1 Minute for bullet of Army. Don't spoil image of ISI, IB or Army in all over the world. There are some supporters of Army and ISI in Pakistan who can't even hear anything against ISI. So You had to listen to them, bear their threats. Its not a big deal. Your life is in hands of Allah. I don't think so that ISI is behind the gang who wanna kill you.
Thanks
Allah bless u

Dear Mir Sahib i will start my commenets with great poet wordings......Mohabat mojhay un jawanoo se hay sitaroon pe jo dalte hay kamnd....brave and couragious people do not afraid of any threats they fight like a tiger and live like babar sher....being a muslim speaking truth is in our blood..And as far as life is concerned that is aternal every one have to die one day...but if your died with pride, honour, dignity and couragiously, people will remember you and that death is called shahadat...and shaeed place is in heaven.. do not afraid of jackles and do your work as doing because you have lot to do for this courtry....ALLAH ALMIGHTY WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU AND YOURS FAMILY,,,,, GEO TO AISAY
ALLAH HAFIZ

who want to kill u ediot u are tryiny to show thay u are big man in pakistan because ur family own geo tv that why
ur any new are not parshal
u are with some sort of agenda
that is anti pakistani
u should leve the tv and join the political party
ur are not a indipandent jurnlist
that is truth

mr cpj..i think u r doing a good job...protecting cpj...but think about the character of the man ur standing for..mir hamid the traitor who only knows american dollars...his patroitism is well known...he leaves no stone unturned to exploit a situation to harm national interest

mr hamid u talk 2much in ur talk shows,many many dont like it becaus u alway speak true
n one more thing that pak army is not ur against but what he see u dont

salam

hamid sir i like ur show and i appriciate u but sir do some 4 our country youth with u

Dear Hamid Mir

Ha Ha Ha I have read all above comments.My dear what you are talking about?The people who are at the helm of affairs in Pakistan
highest to lowest, civil or milatary,(I hope you understand) are just worth one visa of USA or any EU countries.When these countries threaten them that they will not issue visa to them (when they have no 'BLUE PASSPORTS'
they kneel down before them and pray to them as if they are ...Please try and understand the philosphy what I am trying to convey to you.
Please tell this to your viewers that all all our leaders are worth 'ONE VISA' because all their wealth,their children and their homes are there.If you will not say this in your coming 2/3 programmes then I will think that how different are the two students of Punjab University (ie) you and me. Kind regards.
I.A.Saeed


Text Size
A   A   A
Article Tools

   

Print Print

Share Share

More On
Blog Authors
Full author list »

Recent Categories