Am I a traitor?

By Hamid Mir/CPJ Guest Blogger on May 8, 2014 10:11 AM ET

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hamid Mir, the executive editor of Pakistan's Geo Television, survived an April 19 assassination attempt, but was badly injured. The shooting came a few weeks after the Pakistani government pledged in a meeting with CPJ to address the insecurity plaguing the country's journalists. Shortly after the attack, some Pakistani media stated that CPJ had received an emailed video from Mir saying that if he were killed, Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) was responsible. Mir recently told CPJ that he had sent a video to his lawyer, who did not send it to CPJ. The ISI has denied the allegation it was behind the attack on Mir, according to news reports. This article was initially published in the daily Urdu-language Jang newspaper on May 5, 2014.

There are two types of traitors.

The first kind includes those who join hands with enemies and help enslave their own people. Among the most prominent of these is Jaffar Ali Khan, whose betrayal, as chief of army in 1757, eventually led to the British rule of the subcontinent. Over time, Jaffar's name has become synonymous with treachery.

The other kind of traitor includes those who raise their voice against powerful local interests bent on collaborating with foreign powers in the name of "patriotism." This kind does not carry arms, deploy tanks, or possess fighter aircraft. For weapons, they use their tongues to speak the truth--or pens, to write it. When they speak or write, those with guns call them traitors.

Our history is brimming with this second form of traitors. At present, a campaign has been launched to put people like myself and other journalists into this second category. Those who live under the shadow of the gun not only want to label me or my organization, Geo TV, as a traitor, but they want to revoke my citizenship as well.

But why? What is my crime?

An assassination attempt was made on my life a few days ago, in Karachi. I have six bullet wounds. Geo TV aired reports about my family's suspicion that elements within Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, the ISI, could be the mastermind of the attack. I had told my management many times in the recent past that ISI officials were trying to use extremists to silence my voice.

I was unconscious when my family suspected the ISI of using extremists against me. When I opened my eyes on the second day after the attack, I endorsed the stand my family took. Immediately, the ISI sent a reference to the government, declaring Geo TV to be a traitor. Banned militant outfits took to the streets in support of the ISI, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, saying they wanted the government to declare me and Geo TV to be traitors.

But I am not the only one. It seems such forces have been working for decades to dub figures in Pakistan's history as traitors.

At times, someone making a political speech attacking dictatorship is called a traitor, while at other times poems praising democracy are dubbed treasonous. The men with guns used the label of "traitor" to describe Fatima Jinnah, the sister of Pakistan's founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, despite the fact that she played a prominent role in the historic Pakistan Movement, which called for secession from the British Empire. When she later opposed military dictator Ayub Khan in the 1965 presidential elections, powerful people labeled her an Indian agent and traitor.

Sometimes a traitor goes by the name of Habib Jalib, who wrote poems condemning army action in Dhaka in 1971. The regime of the dictator General Yahya Khan, who ordered the surrender of troops in Dhaka, not only called Jalib a traitor, but threw him in prison.

Others have also been called traitors: Pashtun nationalist Wali Khan and Baluch nationalists Ghaus Bux Bizenjo and Ataullah Mengal--even though these leaders played a key role in framing the 1973 Constitution and had pledged loyalty to Pakistan under that Constitution.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he who gave us the 1973 Constitution, was also labeled a traitor. His elected government was toppled and he, too, was later dubbed an Indian agent. He was then falsely implicated in a murder case and sent to the gallows. It was during the regime of General Zia-ul Haq, the military dictator who hanged Bhutto, that India occupied the heights of Siachen, the disputed glacier region in Kashmir.

During this period, politicians like Benazir Bhutto and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmed Faraz, and my father Waris Mir, and countless political workers, journalists, poets, and writers, were all labeled traitors.

Deeming a war fought for the sake of foreign interests "patriotism," Zia-ul Haq introduced the culture of the Kalashnikov, sectarianism, linguistic and ethnic divisions, and narrow provincialism into the country. To weaken the political forces arrayed against him, Zia doled out guns to certain religious groups, and fatwas declaring people "kaafirs" (non-believers), along with accusations of treachery, also became part of the political discourse.

When another prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, refused to bow before the power of the gun in 1999, his government was toppled and a case lodged against him for hijacking. He, too, was declared a traitor.

Then Akbar Bugti was labeled a traitor, even though he had voted in favor of Pakistan when it was born in 1947. For this, he was driven in his old age to a cave deep in the hills of Baluchistan, which became his final refuge and where, in 2006, he was killed. His death was blamed on General Musharraf, a man who subverted the Constitution of Pakistan--not once, but twice. Musharraf was termed a usurper by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, yet his supporters continue to call Bugti and his family traitors.

Although ostensibly there is democracy in the country today, the men with guns have held democracy hostage. Elected governments and superior courts look helpless in front of the people with guns. Through certain sell-out politicians, maulvis [priests], and intellectuals, those who champion the freedom of the press are, once again, called traitors. The wisdom of those sell-out individuals seems to be tied to the laces of the heavy boots.

Today, I do not seek to address those who have sold their consciences to the enemies of democracy, but to address you, the men with guns, directly. I want to tell you that only a person like me who has suffered bullet wounds on his own body can feel the importance of the sacrifice of our brave soldiers. I, too, salute the sacrifices of our brave soldiers for the defense of the country.

But remember, these men offer sacrifices for my country--not the protection of the unconstitutional privileges of a handful of people. You will not be able to hide your crimes behind the sacrifices of our brave soldiers. You represent the past that has fanned repression and injustice and the trampling of the rights of the smaller provinces. I represent the hope that wants to see every institution in Pakistan bound by the Constitution. You believe the Constitution is a joke and every day you betray your contempt for the Constitution. To save a dictator from a trial on treason, you kick up a hue and cry and label others traitors. I believe those who subvert the Constitution are the enemies of Pakistan.

You divide terrorists into "good" and "bad" to confuse the people. I believe in unveiling your deceit. You aim to further your personal interests by handing over the country's bases to foreign powers, and you allow drone strikes on your own country and say your opportunism is patriotism. I believe such patriotism is a slight on the name of Pakistan. You want to fan a civil war. I believe in peace. You believe in stabbing people in the back. I believe in holding my head high and speaking the truth.

Agreed: You are powerful because you have guns and tanks. But I do not want to beg you for a certificate of patriotism. If Fatima Jinnah could be called a traitor--if Jalib, Bhutto, Faiz, Khan, Mengal, and Bugti were traitors--I accept being called a traitor.

I promise that if you have me declared a traitor by any court, or have a maulvi issue a fatwa for my death, I will not deny your accusation. Your charge will be a favor to me. Whether you hang me like Bhutto, or have me murdered like Bugti, I will not be stopped from speaking the truth.

I want to be murdered at your hands, so I can live on in history. The verdict of who is a traitor cannot be pronounced by a secret agency--but only by history. 


CPJ is a respected and credible organization. You should never become a pawn in someone's ambitious political game. Hamir Mir's brother, Amir Mir, lied to the Pakistani and world media when, on the day of the attack on his brother, incorrectly declared to world he sent a video to CPJ holding Pakistan's military responsible for attack on him. In fact, on very first day, his brother completely excluded possibility that extremist and terrorist groups, with whom Hamid Mir been very close, could have had anyting to do with the attack. These two brother journalists have a complicated link to politicians and other dubious actors with political agendas. It is very easy to hide all that garb of press freedom.

Babur Chughtai Mughal May 8, 2014 5:50:11 PM ET

Everybody in Pakistan knows that Hamid Mir was target of secret services as well as extremist groups because he always exposed the links between good Taliban and secret services.He bravely exposed the double games of Pakistani secret services against democracy and we the lawyers community is standing behind him.Today some banned militant outftis like LeT are organizing rallies in support of secret services.Its a shame for the secret services.Lawyers and journalists are celebrating May 9th Friday as a prayer day for Hamid Mir all over the Pakistan.We are thankful TO CPJ for supporting independent media all over the world.

stay strong, my brother. This is your opportunity to change the narrative of this country. While hidden powers try their best to make another Malala out of you by maligning your noble intentions, we-the people of Pakistan, stand with you in letter and spirit. Power to the pen!

Quite a write up Mr. Mir, kudos to you!

However, in the present times the Pakistani society is suffering from utter lack of morality and rationalism. So your words, no matter how rational and logical, are bound to fall on deaf ears. Of course the words are bitter, but are true as well.

Time and again we have witnessed mass support for the likes of Laden and Qadri. No, not just from the poor or illiterate strata, but also from the supposedly intellectual class. Such people get on various talk shows on TV channels and do not even try to be subtle in their desires to see Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Yet, when asked how about the same Taliban ruling Pakistan, they are quick to say that such a governance is fit only for Afghanistan, not for Pakistan. Even though all of them demand for Sharia in Pakistan, same as the Afghan Taliban (wanting in Afghanistan).

You go to different online forums where people from different sections of the society participate, and you see a huge majority displaying the same phenomenon. Not surprisingly, it is the same majority that also professes its blind support to the Army, and has accepted that who is a traitor and who is not, can only be decided by none other than the Army. No, not even the Constitution, but the Army.

Add to that those who live in the UK and the US, who cannot stop harping how badly they wish to see Sharia, or at least Martial Law implemented in Pakistan, while they themselves are living in a very free and liberal society outside Pakistan.

The fact is, Mr. Mir, that whether it is Communism, Dictatorship, or Monarchy, every form of governance is in fact a disguised democracy. There is no way that any dictator could be one, without the support of the masses. Even the mighty Army of Pakistan requires the support of the public, and that is why it so infuriated at GEO for hinting that it could be the ISI that attempted to assassinate you. So of course, you, or Ms. Jinnah, or Mr. Bhutto, and many others, could not be equated with Mir Jaffer unless the public too bought the same idea. Whether bought, or fed, wouldn't matter, as people have their own free mind to think critically.

So Mr. Mir, what are the chances that you will be able to bring a change in Pakistan?

Even if you were to prove everything with solid, incontrovertible proofs, and provide unshakeable reasoning for people to see the ambitions of the Pakistani Army, do you really think people would buy it? Would they not quickly choose to become blind to all that?

They will! If they were to not do so, an acceptance of your stand will hurt them even more as they will feel forced to realize how wrong they have been in all these years.

Even if Hamid Mir & Aamir Mir didnt name ISI we all could guess who was behind that incidence.
It is nothing new. ISI stole elections , never admitted and after many years its own heads CONFESSED about their crimes! They tried hard to topple elected Governments, never admitted but after many years Confessed about their criminal activities.If we wanted to be Ostriches, its Ok ! but Reality is that they Conspired against all sane voices & Shut them up by Bullets just as in case of Hamid Mir.

yes(@HamidMirGeo) you spoke the truth...but ur organization had declared ISI chief for 8 hours....u have power to condemn any orgnization as responsible for attack on u...but without any proof u can't blame any one...and that is the thing that people love the PakArmy on basis of patriotism...and they are obviously with Army and declared u as Traitor...ur organization must take care that thay have done mistake and fullfill & apologize for this...that is the way u must go through right way...without this all your efforts about democracy is useless...because our people are not more aware and broadminded but are still more patriots

Haider Ali Khan May 9, 2014 12:45:57 AM ET

Surely as an ordinary Pakistan's citizen we can't have prove but Hamid mir seems like traitor. As he try to blame everything to our defence resource. Try to make conflicts bw people,race. Gain every opportunity to demoralize the nation and army.
and beside all of them he asks to believe him and not our ISI. As an patriot We believe if ISI is against him, he surely would be the traitor

Very true and excellent way of expression with logic. Hamid Mir is brave and ideal journalist of Pakistan. He teaches us the way of good journalism.
He is champion and legend of Journalism. I recommend you that you should must watch his shows. He is voice of Missing persons and his struggle is for Law and Order.

History is never an evidence. Prove your claim with solid and logical proofs.

Mir, u r no one to define a traitor. In fact, second category is the writer and speaker like u who sells his motherland for tiny benefits; and at times for sheer self projection/ applause from the influential enemy. It is not a coincidence that u r also a "Mir", but a bitter fact that u r a descendant of "Mir Jaffar". Like him, u also share the weaknesses of the motherland with the enemy. U have rightly said that history will remember u but as MIR JAFFAR. Curse be to you.

Hamid Mir is not only great, daring, brave and bold Journalist but he indeed is great patriot and true Muslim. He is voice of dominated, neglected, poor, deprived and vulnerable people of the country. His heart is filled with the love of Pakistan. His fault is only that he says good to good and bad to bad, he never compromises with misdeeds, injustice, cruelty and falsehood. He raises voice against injustice and devilish forces.
Pakistan and common Pakistani people need this brave gentleman, that’s why Almighty Allah gave him a new life.
I bet if anyone can prove moral or financial corruption against Hamid Mir. He is Man of conscience, man of justice, man of truth, man of reality and always raises his voice against devils and devilish deeds.
Hamid Mir, I love you as you are my voice, you are voice of Pakistan, you are voice of truth and justice.
Long Live Hamid Mir…..

If any one wants to know who is traitor, he must read Article 6 of the constitution of Pakistan. So here is the Article and u will realize that Hamid Mir correctly defines the term "traitor' according to this Article.
High treason, Article 6: (1) Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.
(2) Any person aiding or abetting or collaborating the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.

(So, I humbly request all people to think who really is a traitor according to the constitution of Pakistan and if someone favors those people, he will be considered a traitor according to this Article). Thanks

حامد میر نہ صرف ایک عظیم انسان اور مسلمان ہیں بلکہ سچے محب وطن بھی ہیں، انکی حب الوطنی پر شک کرنے والے پاکستان کے دشمن ہیں۔ ہاں حامد میر کے مخالفین کے پاس کوئی دلیل یا ثبوت ہے تو انہیں دلیل اور ثبوت کے ساتھ بات کرنی چاہئے، ورنہ حامد میر پر کسی بھی قسم کا الزام آسمان کو تھوکنے کے مترادف ہے۔ حامد میر کا قصور یہ ہے کہ وہ حق کی بات کرتے ہیں، سچ کی بات کرتے ہیں، حقائق کی بات کرتے ہیں، آئین اور قانون کی بات کرتے ہیں۔ اور یہ باتیں قانون توڑنے والوں کو، جھوٹ بولنے والوں کو اور پاکستان کا سودا کرنے والوں کو اچھی نہیں لگتی ہیں۔۔

حامد میر کو غدار کہنے والے وہی لوگ ہیں جو فاطمہ جناح کے خلاف تھے، ذوالقار علی بھٹو کے خلاف تھے، حبیب جالب کے خلاف تھے، بے نظیر بھٹو کے خلاف تھے، ملک کی جمہوریت کے خلاف ہیں، بلوچوں کے خلاف ہیں، ملک کے اتحاد کے خلاف ہیں، مسئلہ کشمیر کے حل کے خلاف ہیں۔
حامد میر جو کام آپ کررہے ہیں اللہ اور اللہ کا رسول آپ سے راضی ہے،،، یہ چونٹیاں آپ کا کچھ نہیں بگاڑ سکتی ہیں۔ کیونکہ آپ حق اور سچ کی آواز بلند کرنے والے نڈر اور بہادر پاکستانی ہو۔
حامد میر تجھے سلام
تیری جرات کو سلام
تیری حب الوطنی کو سلام
تیری دلیری کو سلام

حامد میر صاحب اللہ پاک آپکو صحت کاملہ عطاء فرمائے،،،،آپ حوصلہ مت ہارئیے گا ،،،آپ تنہا نہیں ہیں اس موقع پر آپکے بھائی آپکے ساتھ ہیں اور اپنے لہو کے آخری قطرے کے بہہ جانے تک آپکے ساتھ رہیں گے انشاء اللہ،،،،اللہ آپکا حامی و ناصر ہو۔

سید سمیع الحق بخاری May 10, 2014 12:43:02 PM ET

Asif Niazi Sahib,,,, If i say u or ur father is a traitor,,, how will u defend?
Niazi Sahib,,,, have a look of Pakistan's History and see who sold the motherland for tiny benefits. Google out who gave Pakistani Air bases to US? who sold Pakistanis to US for dollars. Who sold Kashmir? Who gave permission to US for attacking on Afghanistan. Who gave permission for drone attacks,,,, and much more....

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