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Popular television anchor Hamid Mir shot, injured in Karachi

Pakistani journalists and cameramen chant slogans during a protest, called by the PFUJ, against the attack on Hamid Mir, outside the press club in Karachi, 21 April 2014
Pakistani journalists and cameramen chant slogans during a protest, called by the PFUJ, against the attack on Hamid Mir, outside the press club in Karachi, 21 April 2014

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Hamid Mir, a senior journalist and anchor person of Pakistan's popular talk show Capital Talk on the leading television channel Geo News, was seriously injured in a gun attack on April 19, 2014 at about 5:30 pm in Karachi, the capital city of Sindh province. No case has been registered and no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mir was on his way from the airport to his office when an armed man standing at a corner opened fire on him. Subsequently, four unidentified armed men on two motorcycles followed the journalist's car and continued to fire at him.

He received six shots in the lower part of his body - one in his large intestine, two in his left thigh bone, one in the hip bone and his hand, while another bullet crossed after grazing his ribs. He is being treated in a private hospital where his condition is reported as stable after surgery.

Amir Mir, Hamid Mir's brother, stated that the journalist had told his family, employers, government officials and army officials that some officials of Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), including ISI Director General Lt. Gen Zaheerul Islam, were planning to "eliminate" him.

The Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) strongly condemned the attack and demanded that the attackers be arrested immediately. PBA said that repeated attacks and threats to media and journalists are aimed at restricting them from performing their constitutional responsibilities.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ), Rawalpindi/Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), National Press Club (NPC), and the Karachi Press Club (KPC) strongly condemned the attack.

The All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) condemned attacks on journalists by "state and non-state actors" and termed it an assault on press freedom. APNS demanded the government immediately arrest the perpetrators involved in the attack.

On April 19, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) President Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami and General Secretary Dr Jabbar Khattak strongly condemned the attack and called it a cowardly act. In a statement they said that it seemed that forces against media freedom were busy in their wicked designs to crush free media as they were not ready to tolerate dissent. They demanded the immediate arrest of the assailants and called for an impartial inquiry of the incident.

Condemning the attack, the Pakistan Coalition on Media Safety (PCOMS) said it was very troubling that the assailants were aware of Mir's travel plans and were able to shoot him in broad daylight and escape without being challenged by police or the security agencies of the federal and provincial governments. PCOMS said the attack on Hamid Mir demonstrated once again the government's callous disregard for the safety of journalists. PCOMS asked the government to inform the people of Pakistan of the steps that had been taken to ensure the safety of a senior journalist who had informed those in authority of the nature of imminent threats that he faced.

In November 2012, explosives were placed under Mir's vehicle in Islamabad and discovered when the journalist came back to the car with his driver. The bomb disposal squad was called in to remove the item and it was revealed that the bag contained explosive material that was diffused by the squad.

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