Hamid Mir attack: Probe body exonerates spy agency
ISLAMABAD – The inquiry commission yesterday rejected the allegations of top spy agency’s involvement in the attack on senior journalist Hamid Mir two years ago.
The three-judge inquiry commission headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman Thursday released a 41-page report on the attack on Hamid Mir.
On April 19, 2014, Hamid had received bullet injuries in that incident, while he was travelling in a car from Quaid-i-Azam International Airport to Shahra-e-Faisal, Karachi. The inquiry commission noted that prima facie, there was a tug-of-war among some journalists and ISI because the media persons had claimed before the commission that the ISI was not happy with their reporting.
The report also held that the law enforcement agencies completely failed to investigate the incident. It said during the in-camera proceedings, a CCTV footage was shown to the commission members. According to it two persons were moving in a suspicious manner at Karachi airport at the time of Hamir Mir’s arrival but law enforcement agencies failed to reach to the actual culprits, report said. This cannot be termed as diligent functioning of the investigation agencies.
The report also said that though the officers of ISI and ISPR expressed complete disassociation with the incident but all persons belonging to print and electronic media did raise figures toward ISI.
“We cannot lose sight of an important aspect of the matter, the interaction of media persons with agencies in the course of their professional duties. In the process, there are concerns raised on behalf of the agencies vis-a-vis reporting on sensitive issues of national security. Such concerns have their genesis in various articles of the constitution, including Articles 5 and 10 (7).”
The report states that right to freedom of speech is also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed, inter alia in the interest of integrity, security and defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states and public orders.
The commission questioned that whether the media houses are providing information to the people or creating panic in the society, adding it is alarming state of affairs. All the stakeholders are required to be careful and cautious in conducting themselves in their respective spheres lest the damage resulting from an irresponsible approaches, actions and reactions becomes irreparable.
It, however, observes that there is a consistent pattern of complaints emanating from journalists and their families regarding their security concerns including torture at the hidden hands or lost of life in mysterious circumstances, adding such incidents are grave violation of various articles like Articles 4, 9, 10-A, 14, 19 and 19-A of the constitution.
The commission observes that the apparent conflict between media persons and agencies calls for a rational resolution so as to bring reconciliation, harmony and balance in the working of both sides.
It further states that an appropriate mechanism would be required to be put in place to deal with such complaints of journalists so that the individual concerned is dealt according to law. It is further pointed out that the commission to probe into the death of late Saleem Shahzad was made public in the recent past, wherein certain recommendations were given. “We have gone those recommendations and would reiterate the same. In this behalf, the recommendations made by a Special Working Group of Pakistan Coalition on Media Safety to investigate the attacks against the media persons namely provision for the appointment of a special prosecutor, legal aid unit, family counselling unit and primary case investigation unit are also worth consideration at the appropriate level.”
The commission expresses regret that the federal government did not take any step over the recommendations, given by the commission, formed to probe Saleem Shahzad’s murder.
“If any concrete steps been taken in the line of the recommendations, recurrence of such incidents would have been avoided,” said the commission.