Statement issued by Hamid Mir alleges ‘state and nonstate’ elements were targeting him in days leading up to his shooting.
Hamid Mir, who hosts Capital Talk on Geo News, and was shot at least three times in Karachi last week, said on Thursday he “felt threatened” by state and nonstate actors in the days leading up to the attack.
The shooting of Mir, and his network’s insistence that Pakistan’s intelligence agency and its director-general were to blame, has led to a bitter row between the broadcaster and the military. The defense ministry has demanded Geo be taken off the air for broadcasting claims by Mir’s brother that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency was behind Saturday’s attack.
Mir is still recovering in hospital but his brother Amir Mir read a statement from him on Thursday evening saying intelligence officials had visited him a few days before the shooting to tell him his name was on an unspecified “hit list.”
“I insisted that they should let me know about the people who had prepared this hit list, but they did not reveal that,” Mir’s statement said. “I told the intelligence officials who came to my house that in present conditions I feel threatened by the ISI,” it added, without providing any proof of his claims.
No one has claimed responsibility for shooting Mir, who escaped another assassination bid in 2012 when a bomb was found attached to his car. The Pakistani Taliban said they were behind that attempt and vowed to target Mir again.
Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the armed forces, denied the allegations against the ISI at the weekend, saying they were baseless, and condemned the attack on Mir.
Mir said he told Geo management about threats against him. He said the threats came from “state and nonstate elements.”
The media campaign group Reporters Without Borders said Mir had told it on April 7 that the ISI was “conspiring … to cause me harm.”
According to Mir’s statement, the intelligence agency is “annoyed” at him “because of a program of Capital Talk during the long march of Baloch missing persons leader Mama Qadeer Baloch. I am also aware that ISI is annoyed because of my criticism on secret agencies role in politics.”
The defense ministry’s complaint about Geo accused the channel of a “vicious campaign, libelous and scandalous in nature,” saying they were trying to undermine an important state institution.
On Thursday Sheikh Ijaz, secretary-general of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, said that transmission of Geo had been blocked in some residential areas managed by the military. But he said there had been no general order from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to interrupt the channel’s transmission.