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Journalist Hamid Mir taken off air days after anti-establishment remarks

ISLAMABAD: Days after giving anti-establishment remarks, senior journalist Hamid Mir has been taken off air indefinitely. Mir will not be able to host Geo TV’s popular program ‘Capital Talk’.

According to details, the anchorperson will remain part of the Jang Group, but is being sent on ‘leave’ and won’t appear on TV for an indefinite period. The development drew criticism from his fellow journalists, saying that the journalists community stands with Hamid Mir.

Taking to Twitter, Hamid Mir, while reacting to the development, said, “Nothing new for me. I was banned twice in the past. Lost jobs twice. Survived assassination attempts but cannot stop raising voice for the rights.”

The anchorperson also claimed that some elements are threatening his family. “This time I m ready for any consequences and ready to go to any extent because they are threatening my family,” Mir claimed.

Journalist Asma Shirazi, in a tweet, said, “If Hamid Mir is taken off air or banned from doing program, more fingers will point towards the powerful establishment and the government while resounding the words that he said.”

Meanwhile, Munizae Jahangir said, “The ban on Hamid Mir is a slap on those who profess to have a free media in Pakistan. Mir is undoubtedly the most popular TV anchor of Pak and he is being punished for speaking out against attacks on journalists.”

Twitter divided 

Soon after the development, there was a clear divide on her take. While many criticized the organization’s decision to take Hamid Mir off-air, others lauded the development.

Some people criticized the decision.

What actually happened?

The story begins when Pakistani journalist and vlogger Asad Ali Toor, a strong critic of country’s state institutions, was attacked and threatened inside his Islamabad apartment by unknown assailants on Tuesday night.

Later, in a statement, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary claimed that certain journalists in the past have blamed the military and institutions only to receive political asylum and immigration to foreign countries.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and other journalists reacted strongly to the minister’s insinuations, saying that the statement reflected that the government was showing no seriousness in investigating cases of violence against journalists.

Hamid Mir remarks

Responding to the minister’s claim, Hamid Mir termed the minister’s remarks unfortunate. “I was attacked but I am still in Pakistan. Matiullah Jan was attacked once but he is also in Pakistan. Absar Alam is also present in Pakistan,” he added.

“I would like to ask the minister why senior military officials like Gen Musharraf are living abroad?” Mir asked. The minister would not be able to answer as to who is funding Musharraf’s stay abroad or why most of the top intelligence officials get lucrative jobs outside Pakistan after retirement, he added.

“I will prove that you sit it Pakistan and protect the interests of Israel, India and the United States,” he said. “You handed over Pakistan’s military bases to foreigners since the time of Ayub Khan,” he added.

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