It is about 2 years old. On this particular issue, he has been (surprisingly) vocal from day one. For that he should get credit. A lot of people are digging up old segments in which Hamid Mir professes the kind of Paknationalist idiocies and Islamist fantasies that are a staple of mainstream media in Pakistan. And yes, he is certainly capable of those. He is, after all, a mainstream Pakistani journalist. Others have pointed out that his behavior within the GEO organization was rather haughty and he did not treat his colleagues and staff in a nice manner (for example, a journalist complained that she was told by a flunkey to leave the elevator because "sahib is coming"...it was Hamid Mir coming to work). That may be true, I have no idea. But he has certainly tried to publicize the Balochistan issue when no one else in the electronic media was touching it. And for that, he may have been shot.
It is still possible he was shot by someone else. Possible, but hardly likely.
His own article about this shooting:
Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan but some consider it the most dangerous city as well. When Geo — the biggest Pakistani TV channel — was launched in 2002 from Karachi, I stayed there for three months for training.
During the training, one morning a powerful bombing took place near the US Consulate while I was busy in my training session at a 5-Star hotel not far from the consulate. The explosion was so powerful that many pieces of broken glass fell on me. The deafening sound of the blast gripped me and many of my colleagues. We completed our training in this very incomprehensible fear.
When I returned to the capital as Bureau Chief of Geo TV, high-ups in the government followed me and tried to instill in my mind that ‘Geo TV is an anti-state channel and that a patriotic journalist like me should stay away from it.’
My response was very simple: “This country is run by an army chief. If I am shown the proof that Geo TV is anti-state, I would quit the channel.”No proof was shown; however, the torch-bearers of patriotism got angry with me.
In Pakistan, the start of private electronic media was not so pleasant. The government in power wanted to keep the channels under its thumb in order to get results of October 2002 general elections of its liking. On the one hand, to please the West, the Musharraf government initiated the farce of giving freedom to the media, while on the other hand dangers for media persons started increasing.
The media persons were the most favourite target of extremists as well as the secret agencies. Some journalists became spokespersons for secret agencies in the name of patriotism. Some started supporting the extremists in the name of Islam. Some of them were caught in the cobweb of nationalists.
Space started narrowing for media persons in the country conceived by Quaid-i-Azam. Killing and kidnapping of journalists became the order of the day and the media industry started losing the sense of protection.
Gen Pervez Musharraf’s emergency of 2007 divided the media in two distinct groups. One group became a plaything in the hands of powerful secret agencies. The other group that stuck to the right was dubbed ‘traitor and anti-state’. This division was not restricted to the media alone, it made its appearance among the politicians too.
When on the orders of the Supreme Court, the case of high treason for violation of the Constitution was initiated against Pervez Musharraf, this division assumed the form of confrontation. Musharraf’s trial started sending many important national issues to the backburner. The biggest problem Pakistan faces today is terrorism. Some said if drone attacks stop, terrorism will come to an end. However, terrorism persisted even after no drone struck for 100 days. Some said if talks with the Taliban are held, everything will be hunky dory. Drones stopped and negotiations with the Taliban also started, but still terrorism continued unabated. The Geo TV arranged a special discussion on this vital issue.
I proceeded to Karachi by air on the noon of 19 April. I have conducted many programmes in Karachi but I must admit that my every journey to Karachi started with an unspecified fear. It is very easy in Karachi for the sleuths of secret agencies to eliminate unwanted media persons. However, if a journalist like me shies away from going to Karachi due to this lurking fear, how can I claim to represent the popular sentiments? These very thoughts encouraged me to overcome the old fear with respect to Karachi and I decided to go on with the visit.
I asked my wife to sacrifice a black goat, as weak media persons like me consider such a sacrifice sufficient for their safety. After this sacrifice, I proceeded to Karachi on Saturday morning. As soon as I landed at the Karachi Airport, I received a message from my co-producer that Asad Umar of PTI who had to represent his party in tomorrow’s special discussion had regretted that he would not be able to attend. I asked the co-producer to invite PTI leader Shah Farman from Peshawar.
Engrossed in these thoughts I came out of the airport and got into the car. I asked the driver about the security guard. The driver told me that he was standing outside the airport. After a short while the security guard also got into the car which came out of the airport. Once again, I started sending an SMS to my co-producer asking the time of the next day’s meeting.
Meanwhile, I was discomfited to hear firing shots. When I saw the right window of the car smashing, I realized I was the target. A bullet had already pierced my shoulder. I asked the driver to look sharp. But we were caught in a jungle of traffic.
Firing continued and bullets were penetrating my legs. When the motorcyclist and car drivers realised that a car was being fired upon, they started making way for us. Firing still continued and I felt another bullet piercing the left of my waist. I started reciting the Kalima Tayyaba. The attackers were still following our car and went on firing without a gap. I started telling my colleagues in the office that I am being shot at. I asked the driver to rush to a hospital as two more bullets had pierced my belly. Wading through a flood of traffic, hounded by the attackers and myself perspiring profusely, we somehow were able to reach the Emergency of the Aga Khan Hospital. Darkness began to appear before my eyes. I mustered the courage to come out of the car and fell on a stretcher. Then I lost consciousness and do not know what happened.
On the third day of the attack, I regained consciousness and doctors began to disclose gradually that I had received six bullets but was safe. At that time, I was thinking about the animosity the attackers could have had against me. Then I concluded that the culprit was not the attacker but the one who had planned the attack.
Faces of many ‘planners’ flashed before my eyes. I could ignite new pits of fire by narrating incidents taking place within the first two weeks of April alone, and this could ignite a horrible fire and bring more destruction. Then I thought that in that case there would be no difference between me and a terrorist. Those who dubbed Geo TV traitor in 2002 are once again dubbing it traitor today. They neither had any proof then, nor do they have now. I leave all this to my Allah Almighty and to the courts.
I only want to share my feelings with you. I wish to tell you about so many ups and downs of the acute pain during the seven days of stay at the Aga Khan Hospital. But one thing is certain: the excruciating pain I passed through has only served to consolidate my faith, my courage and my determination. I express my profound thanks to all those who stood by me in this hour of trial and prayed for my health. I am feeling great pain even now as I write these lines. I am bearing this pain only to promise you that I will use the cuts made by six bullets in my body to illuminate the nation to dissipate the darkness of illiteracy.
The six bullets and seven nights spent at the Aga Khan Hospital have convinced me that it is not the common populace of the country that in fact wields the real power and rights. It is someone else. The destination of pure independence is still far away. Disappointment is a sin. The last to laugh will be the common man. We still need lots of sacrifices to reach that destination.