Journalists and Jihadis

Terrorists are after journalists' lives, and journalists are after each other's reputation

Journalists and Jihadis
Hamid Mir, a renowned journalist and Geo’s anchorperson, was shot and injured on April 19 in Karachi. The same enemies of Pakistan who attacked Mir had tried to kill Raza Rumi on March 28 in Lahore and Abdul Ghani Kakar on April 21 in Quetta. Rumi lost his driver. His guard was seriously injured. Kakar received minor injuries. He was also attacked and wounded last year.

Earlier, journalists like Saleem Shehzad, Hayatullah and Wali Khan Babar were killed brutally while performing their professional duty. No prime minister or even a junior minister ever visited their families. Hayatullah’s wife was also murdered after he was eliminated. Do we know where his children are and in what state?

Pakistan has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world. UNESCO’s 2012 report ranked Pakistan the second most dangerous country for journalists the world over after Mexico. According to Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Pakistan is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for journalists. 54 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 1992. Do we know their names? Did any prime minister or minister visit them or announce any compensation package?

It is ironic that the government has assured Mir full security leaving Kakar and Rumi to the terrorists’ mercy. Police advised Rumi to lock himself in the house. He preferred to leave the country for some time! But not everyone can leave the country. Not everyone has resources and requisite arrangements.

[quote]Police advised Rumi to lock himself in the house[/quote]

Kakar is a poor man and works for an obscure paper – Awam. How many of us are familiar with this paper? He has no option but to escape martyrdom in Quetta, Balochistan – the deadliest place for anyone, where he is based.

The contribution of Mir, Kakar and Rumi is nothing before our daring police officers like Chaudhry Aslam Khan. Not a single journalist, military dictator, army chief or general could ever dare to condemn the Taliban with their name and challenge them. Only a ‘lion’ like Aslam could have told them that he will chase them to their graves. Taliban carried out several attacks on Aslam. The attack of January 10 was fatal but Taliban had to acknowledge that he was a brave man.

A police officer points at a bullet hole in Hamid Mir's car
A police officer points at a bullet hole in Hamid Mir's car

Mir is a high-profile journalist. The attack on him should have united the journalist community. The shameful truth is it could not unite even his own colleagues at the Geo or Jang. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) staged a protest in Karachi against attack on Mir. Riaz Sohail of BBC Urdu reported that journalists’ participation in this protest was negligible. The civil society was absent in this protest. Journalists are divided and Jihadis are united! What an irony that the custodians of law shower rose petals on a killer like Mumtaz Qadri and take to streets into thousands to demand his release. But they don’t speak for a journalist who fights for everybody’s rights!

The terrorists are after the journalists’ lives and journalists are after journalists’ reputation. Other media houses are attacking Mir and Geo TV for accusing Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency – ISI – for the attack. Hours after attack on Mir, Ansar Abbasi, editor investigation The News demanded resignation of ISI chief. There should have been a greater display of responsibility. This is one of the reasons that this community is not strong.

Journalists and polio workers are on the hit list of Taliban and the state is not willing to protect them because they are agents of change and are also committed to continue their mission despite braving gruesome attacks on their lives. A journalist is trained to carry pen in his/her hand and a polio worker is trained to carry a cooler of vaccine on his/her shoulder. They are the pride of this country. It is sad that instead of protecting its pride, the state is protecting the terrorists in the name of talks!

The writer is our correspondent in Islamabad

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Mohammad Shehzad is based in Islamabad. He has been writing for national and foreign publications since 1992. He is the author of The State of Islamic Radicalism in Pakistan (Routledge Taylor & Francis) and Love and Fear: Poems Beyond Time ( He learns tabla and classical vocal music. He is a passionate cook and shares his recipes at Email: