Prominent TV anchor Hamid Mir is in a Karachi hospital after gunmen opened fire on his car Saturday afternoon. Mir’s car was ambushed by attackers, at least some of whom were riding motorcycles, according to local media reports.
Details about the attack are still emerging. Citing police, Mir’s broadcast network, Geo TV, says he arrived at a hospital in critical condition after being shot three times in the leg and torso. Mir’s driver reportedly escaped injury; the gunmen remain at large.
“Mir is now reported to have regained consciousness and hospital administration say his condition is out of danger,” Pakistan’s Dawn news service says.
Mir’s brother, Amir, tells Geo TV that before the attack, Mir told him that an attempt on his life could come from within part of Pakistan’s government — specifically from within its intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.
Amir Mir added that his brother “had recorded a video message and dispatched it to the Committee to Protect Journalists.”
The ISI has denied any involvement, and Pakistan’s leaders have condemned the attack, the country’s Express Tribune says:
“Both the President and the Prime Minister condemned the attack.
“Later, the army condemned the attack prayed for his well being and quick recovery.
“According to a statement of Inter-Services Public Relations spokesperson, an independent inquiry must immediately be carried out to ascertain facts. The spokesperson added that allegations against ISI or head of ISI without any basis is highly regrettable and misleading.”
The incident has given new fuel to an outcry in Pakistan over attacks on journalists. From Islamabad, NPR’s Philip Reeves filed this report for our Newscast unit:
“Hamid Mir is one of Pakistan’s best-known — and controversial — journalists, and one of the few to interview Osama bin Laden.
“His employer, Geo TV, says four men on motorcycles opened fire on Mir’s car as he was going from Karachi airport to the office.
“Attacks and intimidation against Pakistan’s journalists are alarmingly common. Three weeks ago, gunmen pumped bullets into another TV anchor’s car in Lahore, killing the driver.
“In January, three media workers in Karachi were shot dead. Pakistan’s government has promised better security for the media: It’ll now face added pressure to carry these through.”
A colleague says he briefly spoke to Mir by phone, as the attack was going on.
“Geo News Islamabad bureau chief, Rana Jawad said Hamid Mir spoke to him after being attacked and said that the gunmen were following him and continued to fire on the car,” Geo TV reports.
The broadcaster adds that an attempt was made on Mir’s life in 2012, when explosives were found to have been placed under his car.
Update at 1:08 p.m. ET. Reaction From Committee To Protect Journalists:
Saying that it is “alarmed by the continuing violence against journalists in Pakistan,” the Committee To Protect Journalists issued a statement about the attack.
“The attack on Hamid Mir is an indicator that the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not been able to reverse the country’s appalling record of violence against journalists, despite pledges to do so,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Full prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes is the only answer to reversing this history.”