Pakistan commission to probe attack on journalist
Talk-show host Hamid Mir came under fire on Saturday while travelling to his office in Karachi
Pakistan’s government Sunday announced a special commission to investigate an attack on a prominent television anchor which his brother blamed on the country’s powerful spy agency.
Hamid Mir, who hosts a popular talk show on Pakistan’s Geo News channel, came under fire on Saturday while travelling in a car to his office in Karachi.
Four gunmen on motorbikes shot at him and he was hit by three bullets, but survived.
The office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said a three-member judicial commission would be set up to investigate.
It announced a reward of ten million rupees ($102,745) for any information leading to the arrest of the attackers.
Mir has long been a critic of the country’s powerful intelligence agencies and military for their alleged role in the abduction of thousands of people in the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan.
Amir Mir, brother of Hamid and also a journalist, on Saturday accused the powerful Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of responsibility for the attack, saying the wounded television anchor had felt threatened beforehand.
Last year police defused a bomb planted under Hamid Mir’s car before it could go off.
The military in a statement on Saturday described the accusations against the ISI as baseless and “condemned the incident and demanded an independent inquiry.”
Last month Raza Rumi, a prominent television anchor known for his outspoken critical views on the Taliban insurgent group, survived a similar assassination attempt in Lahore.
Rumi’s driver died of the injuries he sustained.
Last month Pakistan announced it would set up a special commission to protect journalists and would include press freedom as part of peace talks with the Taliban.
Rights groups have called Pakistan one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.
According to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, seven reporters lost their lives in the country last year.
Shahidullah Shahid, main spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, denied any role in the attack on Hamid Mir despite calling him “secular and an active propagandist against Taliban after attack on Malala.”
This was a reference to Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who campaigned for women’s education and became internationally famous after surviving a Taliban attack in 2012.