Know the ‘enemy’ Hamid Mir
By: Umar Cheema
ISLAMABAD: “Death kills everybody but a martyr kills the death,” – this was a message the widow of Maj Gen Bilal Umar gave in her speech on Youme Shuhda.
As she delivered this line on April 30, 2011 addressing to the august gathering at GHQ, Hamid Mir heard it in a pin drop silence. He was touched by her words. So much so that he translated his feelings into words in a column appeared in daily Jang the next day: ‘Hum koi shahadat nahin bhoolay’ (we haven’t forgotten any martyrdom). Hamid Mir recounted the tales of resolve and resilience exhibited by the families of martyrs in that ceremony.
I vividly remember having read this column with full attention and wondered as to why a man who valued the sacrifices rendered by the soldiers and officers alike was treated as a traitor. There was no answer.
Now, I have gone through his column again, thanks to Dost Publications that has published a book ‘Qalm Kuman 2’. This is a collection of the columns of Hamid Mir, a star anchor of Geo TV, bed-ridden these days after surviving murderous attack in Karachi. He was shot at 11 days prior to the celebrations of Youme Shuhda on April 30.
Attempt on his life was followed by a vilification campaign. His voice in support of the oppressed was interpreted as treason. Some chose to launch direct attacks on him; others assaulted through gunning at Geo TV. Vulture anchors applied all ugly tactics to capture the audience in his absence and failed. A systematic campaign is in progress to establish that this media group and its employees are working on an ‘unholy’ agenda.
The release of Hamid Mir’s book at this point of time offers an opportunity for neutral readers to look back into the past, read again the writings of victim journalist to make an informed decision. He was undoubtedly attacked in reprisal of his professional work. Hamid Mir was projected as enemy of ‘state’.
This book has put together his views that he preached over the time. Going through them can help us deconstruct the person of Hamid Mir. Nobody can hide his feelings and views for a long time and this is out of question in case of Hamid Mir who is blunt to the core.
Reading of this book can resolve many riddles about him. Those fed into believing that Hamid Mir is a traitor can have his first-hand personality analysis. Seculars will find him Islamists and the vice versa. For pro-India lobby, he is anti-Indian and the vice versa. He is anti-American for the US embassy and CIA agent for Aabpara.
In his 122 articles published in the book, Hamid Mir has virtually opened fire at all. In cases, one can also find him coming in defense of different sections of the society. Reading of this book is equally useful for national security thinkers, political class, journalists and common citizens.
As I started reading, I found out his numerous columns in solidarity with the armed forces. His passionate writings about the martyrs of Gayari and war on terror reflects on his passion and love for the defenders of frontiers. His tribute to PAF hero M M Alam who, Hamid Mir thought, was not befittingly honored, makes a fascinating reading.
He is equally critical when he sees the defenders of frontiers meddling into political affairs. His incisive commentary on the abuses of human rights and relentless atrocities in Baluchistan, enforced disappearances as well as bullet-riddled bodies earned him many enemies and titles as well. Such kind of pieces made him a ‘traitor’, agent of RAW and CIA. While writing a column, for example, about Mehran Bank scandal, he advised ISI to stop interfering into politics. ‘The ISI must say goodbye to the politics and mind its own business. This will be in the best interest of Pakistan,’ he concluded in his February 2, 2012 column: ‘Mehran Bank scandal and Nawaz Sharif.’
This book makes an important reading for the political workers and students of politics. It gives us a tour inside the cruel world of politics where today’s enemies are tomorrow’s friends. Hamid Mir’s column ‘Shabaash Imran Khan’ published on October 4, 2012 succinctly explains this.
During Musharraf time, his information minister Sheikh Rashid and principle secretary Tariq Aziz repeatedly ‘advised’ us not to invite Imran Khan, Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Kh. Asif, Javed Hashmi and Kh. Saad Rafiq in Capital Talk,’ writes Hamid Mir.
Nevertheless, he defied all these ‘advices’. Hamid Mir also complained in this article about Imran Khan’s intolerance towards media.
Now, Sheikh Rashid and Imran Khan are friends; both competing each other in waging attacks on Geo TV that Hamid Mir works for. Imran doesn’t see any trouble with Musharraf now. Ch. Nisar has also turned out to be a stranger in this time of crisis. Earlier, he wanted his statements critical to ISI Chief Shuja Pasha be displayed with prominence. Now he sees the ISI under threat in the event of expressing any suspicion about its involvement in attack on Hamid Mir.
The book also carries numerous articles about the threats to journalists. Whenever and wherever a journalist is under attack, Hamid Mir thought it his duty to raise voice in support of the victim no matter which organisation he belongs to. He always spoke about the threats that journalists face from the state and non-state actors. Hamid Mir however failed to realise the threats from inside, the enemies within who came into open after attack on him.
Their role in post-Hamid Mir attack situation is reminiscent of what was done by Geroge Blake, a British spy and a double agent in the service of the former Soviet Union. He was caught by the British for his double role and sent to jail from where he escaped. During an interview later Blake, a Marxist-Leninist, was asked for betraying his own people, he denied being a traitor insisting he never felt British: “To betray, you have to belong first, I never belonged to them.” Blake, who fled back to Russia, is surviving on KGB pension.