KARACHI: Senior anchorperson Hamid Mir who was critically injured in an armed attack is his first statement issued after regaining consciousness that his programme ‘Capital Talk’ on Mama Qadeer Baloch’s long march to Islamabad had annoyed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Amir Mir, senior journalist and brother of Hamid Mir, read out the statement before the media from outside the hospital.
“Men of some intelligence agency had come to my house, telling me that my name is on the hit-list,” Amir Mir read out the text. “When I asked as to who had prepared the hit-list, the men gave no response.”
Hamid Mir said he had told them that in the prevailing circumstance he had faced greatest threats from the ISI and they should convey this to their bosses.
The statement further said: “If any harm came to me or my family, the state and non-state actors will be responsible.”
“I had been receiving threats from both state and non-state actors,” it added.
“I had informed in advance about the threats to the Geo’s administration, family members, close friends and companions. I had also pointed out the elements from whom I faced the threats.”
Hamid Mir asked in the statement as to why no action was taken against the elements who had planted explosives beneath his car. “Why were these elements not exposed,” he questioned.
“Despite a police report, no action was taken against the people who had attacked my children in Islamabad,” the statement added.
In the beginning of the statement, Hamid Mir thanked the people of Pakistan for being blessed with a new life.
By Shakeel Anjum
ISLAMABAD: Unknown attackers who last month abducted, tortured and humiliated Umar Cheema, a senior investigative journalist of The News, have again started chasing him and the latest harassment of this kind occurred on Friday night.
Cheema was heading home with his family at around 10 pm when some suspects, again in a black Land Cruiser, started chasing his vehicle and did so for as long as nine kilometres on the Islamabad Highway. They started following his car from near Faizabad and remained in pursuit until he took a U-turn from the highway towards the PWD Housing Society. As he got off the main highway, the suspects stopped the Land Cruiser and started staring at the vehicle till it remained in sight. Incidentally, it was also a Friday night when Cheema was abducted in the wee hours of September 4, 2010. Likewise, a black Land Cruiser was used for his abduction and for chasing him again.
Cheema said this is not for the first time that he has been followed, adding the Friday night’s incident panicked his family members traveling with him. He said he has written a will and handed it over to his family, advising them as to who should be held accountable in case some tragedy hits him.
Umar Cheema was last picked up in a cloak and dagger style on his way home on September 4. He was stripped naked, tortured with a long piece of leather like whip and a wooden rod. His attackers had accused him of writing against the government.
The information he gathered later on indicated that the operation was presumably done by the thugs of an intelligence agency. Cheema, who wrote critical pieces about the federal government, Army, and intelligence agencies, said that it was always the ISI people who would contact him directly or indirectly for giving him ‘brotherly advice.’
After this brutal incident, the attackers didn’t lose track of him. He noted their presence on a number of times outside his residence after this incident and was also chased in the latest incident on Friday night.
The government so far has failed to bring the culprits to justice. Even the adjournment motion on Cheema’s issue in the National Assembly that was moved by the PML-N lawmakers, though approved for discussion, was not taken up in the last session that was prorogued without discussion on this important issue. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who had promised completing the criminal investigation in a week, could not keep up his pledge as usual. A Joint Investigation Team that was formed later under pressure from journalist organisations failed to make any headway. The Lahore High Court had taken a suo moto notice of Cheema’s torture but police keeps buying time again and again without coming up with any solid clue. A judicial commission headed by a retired judge of high court is recording statements for a fact-finding report on this incident.
Besides Cheema and Ansar Abbasi who was also sent threatening messages, six journalists have recorded their statements narrating their harassment in the past by intelligence agencies. Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir, Kamran Shafi, a Dawn columnist, Sarmad Manzoor, chief coordinator of SAFMA, Shakeel Anjum, senior journalist of The News, Azaz Syed, investigative reporter of Dawn TV and Shakil Turabi, editor of SANA news agency, are among those who recorded statements before the judicial commission.
ISLAMABAD:(Umar Cheema) The wee hours of late Saturday brought a metamorphosis in my life. Not just that I was muffled, picked up, tortured, and humiliated. No absolutely not. Rather the torture has removed the remaining fear, if there was any in my heart and mind, and has instead given me the realization that we have to die fighting for this country.
My love for this country is based on some reasoning which is inspired by my firm belief that we can neither change our past nor our national identity. I learned this during my stay abroad for one and a half years when I went for studies, first in the US and then in UK. Lord Curzon’s words that “exile is a nursery of nationalism” always keep resounding in my ears.
Let us suppose I decide to settle abroad. I will again be Pakistani-British or Pakistani-American and the prefix ‘Pakistan’ cannot be dropped from my identity. It is always counted where you’re rooted in. So I have to stay attached and take care of my country wherever I am.
Having decided to live and die on this land, I have a dream to see Pakistan where brains, not batons reign supreme, where people can question the use of public money, where all institutions can be held accountable without any fear or favour, where our children love to live instead of fear to live, and where we are governed by the rule of law and not on the basis of personal loyalties.
The message of my captors for me was to become a status quo abiding person, not law abiding. They forced me through violence to accept their views and become a silent spectator to the rot without questioning what was happening to my beloved country.
I instead learned a different lesson from the torture and humiliation, to stand guard for this country, help the oppressed, keep questioning the high and mighty and continue the struggle to make this land livable and safe for the next generation.
The captors thought themselves to be heroes but emerged as villains and will go down in the history with same status. I feel pity for them. They were born innocent but forced to become sick minds. Instead of cursing them, I only pray for them because they don’t know we’re fighting for their betterment too.
My captors were probably not aware that I was also hit by a car in December 2004 that left me with compound fractures in my left leg. But I never bowed to those attackers either. Although I’ve forgiven my captors but not forgotten the perpetrators of this act that should be exposed and this mind-set be eliminated once and for all.
I believe in reporting with a moral force without any personal grudge against anybody or any institution. Whenever I write about anyone, the concerned people have always been approached for their version to balance my reporting. It is however a different story that those without answers to our questions try to propagate as if the stories are being planted and we are being bribed for doing this.
Such excuses are crafted by the individuals and institutions not inclined to revisit their conduct. But they don’t know that we, by virtue of our profession, have been tasked to unfold the truth, no matter who is affected by whatever way.
Some consider journalism as a shortcut to rise on the ladder to political power but we are here to protect the interest of people, neither our own nor of the rulers.
I have no words to thank so many of my well-wishers in Pakistan and abroad for consoling me and praying for me. I didn’t know many of them before. I was amazed to note how they struggled to reach me. Due to the flood of calls, I could not attend most of them. It was a silent majority that rose against the oppression of a tiny minority claiming to have monopoly on violence.
There was a mixed reaction to this incident. Those who didn’t know me gave me a new strength and conviction, emboldened me further and offered all-out help. People, who know me for years, were concerned about me and my family’s security. They think that I should think about my children. This is a question which comes to every parent’s mind. I would like to explain that the fight we are into is for my children and for the children of all Pakistanis.
We have to see the broader picture. Pakistani media is fighting the war for the future of this country. The country’s neighbours China and India, are emerging as superpowers but we, in spite of our immense capabilities, are on the decline. There are many who are even worried about its existence. The situation calls for internal accountability and restructuring the society but vested interests and pro-status quo forces seem to be strong, at least for the moment.
But we have to fight on and they don’t realize that a change is in progress, it is bound to come, sooner than later. I’m ready to pay any price for speaking up. Thomas Horaceman, who is considered the father of the public education system in US had said: “One should feel ashamed to die until one has done anything for humanity.” And I stand by his words.
Another attack of State Institutions on Freedom of Expression;Pakistani journalist kidnapped and tortured
Another attack on freedom of expression is made by so called state institutions which run like mafias under few criminals.
Umar Cheema, investigative reporter from The News, was kidnapped and tortured by state institutions. Also the kidnappers threatened that they will do this with other journalists writing against the criminal acts of government and its institutions. Kidnappers told Umar that Ansar Abbasi is next on their list.
CJ LHC has taken suo motto of this incident and an inquiry is being ordered.
We strongly condemn this act of terrorism and whoever is involved must be brought to justice.
LHC CJ takes suo moto notice of Cheema torture. PM Gilani, Nawaz console Umar Cheema on phone
LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif on Saturday took suo moto notice of the torture of The News (a local newspaper) reporter Umar Cheema and summoned the Islamabad inspector general police on Monday.
Taking notice of the incident, the chief justice observed that torture of the journalist was an attack on press freedom, which was protected under the Constitution of Pakistan.
“Not only the judiciary but every citizen is duty bound to stop such incidents,” Justice Sharif further observed.
He directed the federal IGP to appear in the court along with the complete case record and apprise it of the facts of the incident. He also directed Additional Advocate General Muhammad Hanif Khatana to assist the court in the matter.
Read complete : http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?231274
Israel’s attack on humanitarian aid ship–> 20 killed , several injured; Reminds us of Stern Gang Activities
Another blow to humanity by The Terrorist Forces of Israel , reminding world of their Stern gang past of their armed groups. Today Israel has attacked Freedom Flotilla , a humanitarian aid ship, in the international waters. 20 innocent lives were taken by Israel in this terrorist strike and several innocent people including human rights workers, aid workers, journalists and members of international civil society got injured.
Many people on board are missing and no information is available regarding their safety and location. A well-known Pakistani TV anchor Talat Hussain, Aaj TV producer and a representative of a Pakistani NGO are also among the missing. Journalists and civil society have shown strong protests all over the world. USA, the prime supporter of Israel’s terrorist activities is still not showing responsiblity as a so-called advocate of freedom and justice. Lets see how so-called civilized world controls and answer this act of barbaric terrorism shown by an illegitimate state.
AFP: Unconfirmed media reports from Hamas’s Al Aqsa television said up to 20 passengers had been killed, of whom nine were Turkish nationals.
This is an interesting story of Yvonne Riddley converted to Islam after being captured and released by Talibans. It is a lesson for so called civilized nations like USA who treat women prisoners like animals and rape them in custody. Even uncivilized Talibans were more noble in their treatment with the women.
Now just compare it what civilized people did with an educated woman , a mother of three children.
Its a shame for so called civilized world: