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.”
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 given in the constitution.This time I m ready for any consequences and ready to go at any extent because they are threatening my family. https://t.co/82y1WdrP5S
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) May 31, 2021
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.”
If @HamidMirPAK is taken off air or banned from doing program on #GeoNews, more fingers will point towards the powerful establishment & the government while resounding the “words that he said”. Journalists of Pak stand with #HamidMir #Geo management must clarify its position.
— Asma Shirazi (@asmashirazi) May 31, 2021
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.”
The ban on @HamidMirPAK is a slap on those who profess to have a free media in Pakistan.Mir is undoubtedly the most popular tv anchor of Pak & he is being punished for speaking out against attacks on journalists.Sad that @geonews_urdu succumbed. #JournalismIsNotACrime #hamidmir
— Munizae Jahangir (@MunizaeJahangir) May 31, 2021
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.
— 🏏PTi Ķińg🇵🇰(Bilal) (@ChBilal75938222) May 31, 2021
— Laiba Ali (@laibali232) May 31, 2021
Some people criticized the decision.
This is not the first attempt to silent the strongest voice of Pakistani media @HamidMirPAK Sahb, survivor of a blatant assassination attempt and still carrying 2 bullets in his body but culprits never caught. #CapitalTalk is the most popular show of Pakistani media industry. 2/2
— Asad Ali Toor (@AsadAToor) May 31, 2021
— JibranSabri (@Jibran_sabri882) May 31, 2021
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.