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Television anchor threatened

(PPF/IFEX) - Hamid Mir, a senior anchor for the Geo News television network, received threatening SMS messages on 20 December 2011 after discussing topics on his talk show that were critical of the Pakistani security establishment.

According to press reports, Mir received messages on his mobile phone in which he was ridiculed and threatened. He sent an e-mail to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York, in which he stated that he had received an SMS message on his Blackberry at 11:47 p.m. 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." Mir felt the message was in response to his show "Capital Talk".

The journalist said he responded to the SMS and got another message from the same number declaring him to be a CIA, RAW and Mossad agent. Mir says that in the past he has received similar threatening messages, usually from the intelligence agencies.

Mir believes the recent threats were related to two of his recent talk shows on Geo TV, in which he raised questions about the political role of the Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Ahmad Shuja Pasha. That same evening he also discussed a press conference held by Attaullah Mengal, in which the Baloch leader criticized atrocities perpetrated by the Pakistan Army against Balochis, he said.

Mir stated publicly that if anything should happen to him or his loved ones, the security forces would be responsible.

Pervaiz Shaukat, the president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), expressed deep concern over the threats and called on the government to immediately identify the culprits who threatened the Geo News anchor. He said the journalists' community would react strongly if Mir is harmed in any way. He also demanded that the government provide Mir with protection.
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