Hamid Mir Saga Continues

May 20th, 2010 | By | Category: Geo TV, Jang

The Hamid Mir conspiracy saga continues with more news organizations speaking up about the charges.

Today, Dawn adds their voice to the debate in the following editorial:

Geo TV's Hamid Mir Accused of Conspiracy

If the person on the line is indeed Mr Mir, an explanation is in order about his possible ties with militant organisations. He must also answer allegations that the information he ostensibly provided may have contributed to the killing of Khalid Khawaja, a former ISI official belonging to the air force who had been abducted by the Taliban. Mr Khawaja, believed by many to be a Taliban sympathiser, is repeatedly described as a CIA agent by the man who sounds uncannily like Hamid Mir.

Mr Khawaja and his wife are also held responsible in part for the bloodbath at Islamabad’s Lal Masjid. The person on the phone also spews venom of the vilest kind on the Ahmadi community. Slain Taliban leaders are referred to as martyrs.

Mr Mir denies most of the conversation and has served legal notice on the paper that broke the story. He claims that he and the organisation that employs him are being victimised for their consistent criticism of the PPP government and President Zardari in particular. Hamid Mir, who is not short of detractors even within the media, also maintains that the audio ‘recording’ is the work of the Intelligence Bureau which took a voice sample and then produced an entire conversation with the help of a “special gadget.”

Mr Mir has every right to proclaim his innocence but that alone will not suffice. In this digital age it is child’s play for independent experts to confirm whether or not the voice on the tape is Mr Mir’s. It is just as simple to distinguish a doctored recording from an unedited conversation. The credibility of the media is at stake here. What is needed is an investigation that is carried out with an open mind and whose outcome is accepted and acted upon by all parties. This is imperative if allegations of unethical conduct by the media and charges of dirty tricks by the government are to be laid to rest.

Hamid Mir has responded to the original story by sending legal notices claiming defamation and demanding a written apology and Rs 250 Million.

GEO News Islamabad Executive Editor Hamid Mir has sent legal notices to the publisher, editor and staff reporter of Daily Times, as well as the chief executive of TV channel Business Plus for publishing and telecasting “defamatory material against him”.

Mir claimed that the story carried and telecast by the newspaper and the channel, respectively, was “based on malafide intentions and had lowered him in the estimation of general public as the enemy of the state”.

Mir has demanded a written apology within 14 days and its publication in the newspaper and has asked the respondents to pay damages worth Rs 250 million in compensation, else legal action would be taken.

But Hamid Mir is not the only person sending legal notices, it seems. Reports today indicate that Khalid Khwaja’s son Osama Khalid has told reporters at Dawn that his family will be registering a case against Hamid Mir for being instrumental in his father’s murder.

On Wednesday, the family of Khalid Khwaja, the ISI official who was kidnapped by a militant group in the Tribal Areas in late March and subsequently killed, declared their intentions of getting a case registered against the television anchor, Hamid Mir.

“We will be first going to the police and also to the Supreme Court in a few days’ time to get a case registered against Mir for being instrumental in the murder of my father by Punjabi Taliban,” Osama Khalid, son of Khalid Khwaja, told Dawn by telephone on Wednesday.

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  1. Dawn Groups Editorial Talks about Credibility of Media is at stake whereas the same Hamid Mir filed this “Bunkum” as a Superlead in the most prestigious Newspaper of Pakistan i.e. Daily Dawn after 911, read and pull your hair: Daily Dawn, Hameed Haroon, Hamid Mir & Nuclear Bombs
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/04/daily-dawn-hameed-haroon-hamid-mir.html

  2. Credibility of Media wasn’t given any attention by this “Size Queen” of Daily Dawn in 2001 [above] for which now extraordinary attention is being given in 2010.

    ” Mr Mir has every right to proclaim his innocence but that alone will not suffice. In this digital age it is child’s play for independent experts to confirm whether or not the voice on the tape is Mr Mir’s. It is just as simple to distinguish a doctored recording from an unedited conversation. The credibility of the media is at stake here. What is needed is an investigation that is carried out with an open mind and whose outcome is accepted and acted upon by all parties. This is imperative if allegations of unethical conduct by the media and charges of dirty tricks by the government are to be laid to rest. Hamid Mir saga Dawn Editorial Thursday, 20 May, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/hamid-mir-saga-050

    Secular or Liberals may be Anti Extremism but not “Chootiya” to take Dawn’s story filed by Hamid Mir in 2001 as a Cardinal Truth.
    Mazhar Abbas [EX President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists] was pathetic in todays CNBC’s program wherein Afzal Butt [Rawalpindi Journalist], Khalid Khawaja’s son and Rasheed Rehman [Editor Daily Times] were participating. Both the journalists were doing their best to protect Hamid Mir and advising “patience” to Khawaja’s son, saying “Campaign against Hamid Mir should be stopped but what about Constant Campaign against an Elected Government and above all Politicians without any cogent reason in the same Media? At one point Rasheed Rehman said “the way we [Journalists] are violating the code of ethics, this newly acquired Press Freedom “Ghus Jaigi” and Rasheed patiently listened to Mazhar and Afzal but when he started his reply Mazhar [elder Brothers Zafar [BBC/Dawn Group], Azhar [Director GEO and he temporarily worked in DawnNews as well and then again shuttled back to GEO] – These Senior Journalists instead of being sanctimonious should stop acting like “Common Whore” who switch TV Channels more rapidly then Whore switches Partners. Today I saw Mushtaq Minhas and Nusrat Javed “doing their orgy – Bolta Pakistan” on Dunya TV. I ask do they have self respect left in them.

  3. The Asian Tigers surfaced after the murder of Khalid Khawaja. No one really knew the reason behind this murder until the tape recording appeared. Whatever Hamid Mir may say, the tape about his highly indiscreet conversation seems genuine. Technology available could confirm this, although it does not seem necessary. Why should anyone go to such pains to produce a fake recording involving such a character? Staying true to character, Hamid Mir has denied the charges. In one report, he admits that conversations held at different times were linked together to make the tape. In other words he owns up to the contents. This also raises questions about the legitimacy of his channel as part of the Pakistani media. How could his current employers pick a man thrown out by the print media due to his dubious activities? Was he being groomed to do what he has been doing since? Does Hamid Mir stays above from law ?, I strongly suggest he must be investigated and puished if found guilty as it is betryal from the blood of millions of innocent people engulfed by the wrath of extremism. We must throw such odds man out from out society and media.

  4. VIEW: Khalid Khawaja fallout —Naeem Tahir Saturday, May 22, 2010
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\22\story_22-5-2010_pg3_2

    There is the mystery that many of the internet sites about Khalid Khawaja are now ‘restricted’! What does that mean? It is in the national interest of Pakistanis that they know who is a friend and who is a foe

    Khalid Khawaja is no more, but he has left a lot behind. Was he an ISI, CIA or FBI operative? Was he supportive of Talibanisation or was he against terror? What was his connection with Osama bin Laden?

    Finally we come to our media colleagues and Hamid Mir. Khalid Khawaja must have upset him at some point in time. If not, while alive, then his son is definitely bent upon upsetting Hamid Mir. Khawaja’s son has pointed his finger at Hamid Mir as a perpetrator of his father’s death. Because of its coverage, Hamid Mir has sent a legal notice to Daily Times to assert his innocence. Legal notices hardly mean much unless a case is actually filed in the court, and will he do that? His alleged recording is available to anyone and everyone on the internet.

    As a moral issue, all media persons must clearly indicate which side they are on, a responsible, nationalistic individual must be above board and confident of his or her convictions and support them or revise them in a civilised, democratic manner. This should also be applicable to media owners (Oops! Am I living in a fool’s paradise?).

    Is the wish to get answers to these questions something too much to expect?

  5. What Hamid Mir said on the phone is exactly what Zaffar Abbas wrote in DAWN. Why are we not connecting the dots?

    This is a systematic problem. Let me try to explain (I hope you will not censor me like DAWN):

    Dawn is now led by Zaffar Abbas
    Geo is run by Azhar Abbas
    ARY is managed by Mazhar Abbas who is also Gen Secretary of PFUJ.

    And, guess what? These were real siblings of Major General Athar Abbas – head of ISPR.

    One may ask why is it that these media platforms need some from the army to head their content?

    It is because media now censors itself- they don’t have government officers doing for them.

  6. Hamid Mir saga: the buck stops at General Parvez Kayani By Yousuf Nazar
    Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 at 10:52 pm
    http://www.yousufnazar.com/?p=986

    My take on the whole

    My take on the whole Hamid Mir’s saga is not [assuming of course the tape is authentic] just that he could have contributed to the killing of former Squadron Leader and ISI official Khalid Khawaja by telling that unknown person (who sounded like he was somewhere in the tribal areas and involved with a terrorist group) by alleging that Khalid worked for the CIA among other allegations but the fact people like Hamid Mir with known links with Al Qaeda are also alleged to be the intelligence agencies men and work for the biggest media group in the country.

    Hamid maintains that the tape is a concoction and doctored but is he prepared to have some independent technical experts examine the tape to verify its authencity. Filing law suit in controversial and ill-reputed Lahore High Court won’t cut it. If he is not prepared for such an impartial examination, his detractors would be justified to draw their own conclusions from the tape.

    A DAWN columnist writes today:

    ” For such people to wield so much power over the airwaves should give us pause for thought. It is an open secret that many journalists in Pakistan are on the payroll of various intelligence outfits. This became most obvious during the acrimonious public debate over the Kerry-Lugar Act last year when all hell broke loose over our TV channels. It was no secret that our army high command had been annoyed by the legislation’s bid to strengthen democratic institutions, and to prevent future coups. The quick activation of the media brigade in support of the military’s position exposed their ties and their loyalties. Nor is the army’s distaste for this government concealed; and its reflection in TV chat shows is hardly a coincidence.”

    It is this axis of terror and evil between the intelligence agencies, media men and the terrorists that needs closer and deeper investigation and public scrutiny. I remember that it was Hamid Mir who told me in February 2008 that it was former US state department official Robin Rafael who sent Dr Shahid Masood on a study tour of the US after his show was temporarily suspended during Musharraf’s government. Another senior editor from the Jang group told me that Shaheen Sehbai violently turned his guns on Zardari after the latter refused his request to appoint him as High Commissioner to Canada.

    Anyway, what is curious that media men with known links with the intelligence agencies have been the most vocal supporters of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. In my op-ed for DAWN ( The Establishment Strikes Back, Dec. 26, 2009), I wrote:

    “It is now too obvious that the judges got rid of Musharraf when he became a liability to the establishment. Now they could be part of a hidden agenda because an overt exercise of powers by the establishment does not fit in with the current internal and external environment. One has to be politically quite naive or a paid journalist (it does not matter by which agency, IB or the ISI) to eulogise all this as the triumph of justice or some rubbish like that. Why doesn’t the Supreme Court order the ministry of information and broadcasting to publish the names of all those media persons who have been the beneficiaries of secret funds during the past 20 years? “

    We can’t build democratic institutions without a genuinely independent media that has some measure of integrity and credibility. While I never had any illusions about the media (specially the Jang Group and Nawa-e-Waqt), for common people like me, another troublesome fact is that the people like Khalid Khawaja ( a former ISI official) were not only close to Osama bin Laden but also worked closely as go-betweens for the CIA and the ISI with the terrorists and militants. The likes of them went around openly talking to the media how they got Osama to pay Nawaz Sharif to overthrow Benazir’s government and loudly espousing the case for the Talibans and yet hardly any one in the media questioned what the hell was going on? How could they have the guts to do that and all they did with impunity unless some people at the pinnacles of power were been protecting or using them? Before some naive young journalist utters the word “conspiracy theory”, let me just say go and study Pakistan’s and CIA covert operations’ history and then reflect.

    Hamid Mir has been allegedly caught on telephone egging on some one, who is apparently a terrorist, to question former ISI officer Khalid Khawaja about his connections with the CIA and his role in Lal Masjid. I listened to the tape a few times. I do not know if the tape was doctored but it definitely sounds like Hamid Mir who I have not only met many times but also appeared on his shows. He liked my views about America but wasn’t so receptive when I talked against the establishment. America, the establishment and militants are equally responsible for Pakistan’s current woes. The establishment is aided by a section of the media and superior judiciary, and the establishment has been funded and supported by the U.S. for decades. This is such a murky, dirty, vicious and clandestine web that reads like pages from John le Carre’s novels.

    Coming back to the Hamid Mir’s tape, what transpires from the transcript is as follows:

    1. this terrorist ( a Punjabi Taliban, apparently) is going to meet Hakimullah Mehsud in a few days;

    2. this Taliban knows that Khaild Khawaja is in the custody of one Tariq Faridi;

    3. Hamid Mir alleges that Khalid Khawaja is a CIA man and was deeply involved in Lal Masjid and connected to the Maulana Aziz and Rashid Gazi of Lal Masjid

    4. Hamid Mir asks this terrorist to ask the people who are holding Khalid in their custody what were his connections with former CIA chief Bill Cassey and Mansur Ejaz ( a controversial person who has been involved in many negotiations on behalf of the CIA with Al Qaeda )

    5. The terrorist alleges that Khalid Khawaja may have been involved in the murder of some senior brigadier level army officials.

    How very interesting? Yes. Surprising? No.

    I have been writing for a few months about the yellow journalists and particularly those who are associated with the Jang Group. Shaeen Sehbai and his ilk should know that there is no grand conspiracy against the media. Their irresponsible and self-serving agenda driven journalism has forced independent and completely disinterested people like me to speak up and say enough non-sense before more damage is done to this country by the paid-agents of the establishment in the media.

    But this saga should be an eye opener for those naive and younger generation of writers who make fun of anyone who smells a plot or a conspiracy in many of the happenings in Pakistan. We must reflect on how much we are told is the truth or a lie, fact or fiction, story or spin?

    Just consider the following:

    1. It has been over a month that the UN report on BB’s assassination was released but there has been no, none whatsoever, progress in the investigation. The fact finding committee formed by Yusuf Raza Gilani (alleged by some PPP MNAs to be an ISI man) did nothing nor were its findings made public.

    2. It has been over a week that Hamid Mir’s saga started but neither the Supreme Court nor the men in Khaki have moved.

    Why the latter two because they are the ones who really matter and hold real power. If such high level crimes are committed or alleged to have been committed with impunity and there is no transparent, credible, serious, and demonstrably impartial investigation, then do not blame the commoners like me for smelling conspiracy because everyone knows that to get away with such high profile crimes so publicly, so openly and so brazenly, is only possible in Pakistan when the top men in the khakis are protecting you. We are not talking about some men in a remote village who committed suicide bombings or a target killing in Karachi where a person came on a motor bike, fired upon some one and sped away.

    We are talking about a Major General who was accused in a United Nations report about a serious crime. [Some paid-columnists have also smelled a conspiracy in the UN report knowing little that Chilean Ambassador is probably one of the last persons who can be accused of working for the Western or US agenda). We are talking about one of the best known TV anchors who is accused of having more than close relations with the terrorists. This must be investigated at the highest level of government if there is some even semblance of transparency and sense of accountability left in the banana republic.

    Hence, the buck stops at the highest level of government and by that I do not mean the chief executive Yousuf Raza Gilani. I mean the real man-in-command, General Parvez Kayani.

  7. Almost all of us used to listen the voice of Hami Mir and everyone know how he talks and the style of talk, even the words he used is surely proving that this is the original tapped. Now this is the test of the media personals that how they react and how they act on their own fellows. Hamid Mir always does the speculation in his program and articles then why does not he give right other to assume what they think? now he should understand without ethnicity how he blames and speculates on others.

  8. Committee to probe charges against Hamid Mir Thursday, May 20, 2010
    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28969

    ISLAMABAD: A conversation purportedly between Hamid Mir, the host of Geo programme ‘Capital Talk’ and columnist of daily Jang, has been uploaded on different websites, says a statement issued by the spokesman of Geo/Jang Group.

    A committee has been constituted by the Group to get detailed information in this connection. Members of the committee have held preliminary talks with Hamid Mir in which he has disowned the voice (said to be his) and termed the audiotape fabricated. For credible investigation, the committee has called upon professional journalist organisations to come forward to uncover the truth. Hamid Mir has assured that he would fully cooperate in the investigation so that the truth is unearthed. He also said that some people want to ostracise him from the profession and they are defaming him as part of a conspiracy.

  9. More fake tapes to come out soon Monday, May 24, 2010 Jang Group journalists on the hit-list By our correspondent http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=29047

    ISLAMABAD: According to highly informed sources, the government has decided to defame and discredit a select group of senior Jang Group journalists in the coming weeks. According to the highly reliable sources, the ongoing controversy regarding popular TV anchor Hamid Mir’s alleged conversation with an unidentified Taliban leader was ‘just the first in the
    series’. Besides other dirty tricks, it was also learnt that landline and cell phones of the marked journalists were being tapped, and it was also planned that original phrases and words of a marked journalist would be taken from his various telephone conversations and then patched together to create a phoney conversation to discredit the journalist. The sources said an attempt shall also be made to paint some of these journalists as being ‘Nawaz Sharif lackeys’ and that their criticism of the PPP-led coalition government was actually sponsored by the Sharif camp.
    The purpose of such practice, as the past shows, has always been to give message to other media outlets by targeting the most popular and influential media. The Jang Group had become victim of this offensive strategy many times in the past also.

    Surprisingly, however, in a departure from the past practice the smear campaign shall not be carried out by the Interior Ministry, but actually is being overseen by a group of intelligence functionaries considered very close to the bosses of the Law Ministry. The hit list comprises (so far): Hamid Mir (Host, Capital Talk), Shaheen Sehbai (Group Editor, The News), Ansar Abbassi (Editor Investigations, The News) Mohammad Malick (Resident Editor, The News Islamabad-Rawalpindi), Kamran Khan (Host, Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath) and Dr Shahid Masood (Host, Meray Mutabiq).

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