July 09, 2014
Hamid Mir, the well known anchor and host with Geo TV channel is in London for treatment of wounds that he sustained during an attempt on his life by unknown assailants in Karachi on April 19 this year. Miraculously he escaped from that seemingly pre- planned attack although six bullets penetrated into his body while he was traveling in the car.
For over two months the doctors in Pakistan did their best to treat and heal him yet two bullets are still lodged in his thigh while his bladder is ruptured that inhibits his whole physical system with intermittent acute pain. Only the British medical experts at the two renowned hospitals in England namely Cromwell Hospital in London and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham could determine if the two remaining bullets could be extracted and that his urinal bladder would heal up enabling him to restart his normal activities of life including hosting of the TV programs.
Although he is physically mauled up and cannot even stand or walk properly, he has expressed his unshakable resolve to return to Pakistan once he regains his health. He seems determined to resume his journalistic activities, besides endeavoring for the independence of press and the issue of the disappeared persons. As such he is poised to keep fighting against ISI.
In response to the widespread rumors that he has gone to England for a permanent sojourn, Mr Mir ridiculed such news as kite flying by his detractors. He vehemently denied that he had fled Pakistan to stay permanently in England. He firmly maintained that “I have come here just for a few days only for medical reasons. Inshallah, I shall be back in Pakistan as soon as my medical treatment is over. I need prayers of my people for the fast recovery."
He buffeted his claim of returning to Pakistan after treatment by arguing he has come to England on a six-month medical visa: which means that if he wanted to stay on indefinitely, it could be a visitors or some kind of other visa for seeking asylum like Altaf Hussain.
Notwithstanding his claim whether he would stage a comeback after his recovery or not, the foremost question is that would he be physically revived to an extent as to kick around and resume his normal chores of life? The vitality and energy level that he was possessed with prior to that fatal attack, cannot be rehabilitated by any means nor by any medical wizard.
It would also be debatable if the British surgeons deem it harmless to pull out two stuck- up bullets in his thigh, or they would uphold the opinion of their Pakistani counterparts. It is also to be seen if his bladder wound would completely heal up as to make his movements normal and without any ting of pain or obstruction.
His physical fitness or disability apart, would he be allowed by his political contenders, ISI, other intelligence agencies and even some anti-India religious outfits to move freely and preach his ideas and ideals?
If he was attacked for the first or the second time, he could be assailed for the third time as well and even further. In case he returns to Pakistan, the freewheeling that he had been boldly exercising all these years, despite severe constraints and dangers to his life, may not become handy anymore. Henceforth the terrain of Pakistan would be strewn for him with thorns and not with flowers.
Despite his bubbling humanitarian passion, exuberance and even crusade for the disappeared persons, he has become a controversial person for good or bad reasons. The prevailing suspicion about him is that he was more inclined to credit India and discredit Pakistan whose one obvious indication was to oppose ISI that India and her spy agency RAW deem as their sworn enemy. The case of missing persons was handy ploy to beat its accused perpetrators which understandably are the ISI or broadly the Pakistan army.
From the mission Aman Ki Asha to upholding the cause of missing persons to debunking and apportioning blame to ISI for missing persons, Hamid Mir was inadvertently or knowingly supporting the Indian stance against ISI. His unguarded and indiscreet boldness crossed the perceived limits when he started zeroing point blank on ISI for several anti-human happenings in Pakistan.
Even in case of the recent attack on him Karachi, his brother Amir Mir also a journalist said that Hamid Mir believed that the ISI and its chief Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam had planned to assassinate him. By accusing ISI would be highly imprudent as it would also mean the Pakistan army. While supporting the cause of the missing persons through the media and press was valid, his physical participation in the sit-in rallies and raising slogans against the perpetrators of this heinous job would be a temptation fit for a politician but not for a working journalist.
By such irrational and brazen overtures and pitting himself against a highly organized organization that safeguards the country, did Mir believe he would prevail and army would bow down? Blaming Pakistan army even for valid causes without convincing evidence would be an attempt to portraying oneself as overly daring or unpatriotic with some studied motives. ZA Bhutto did that and what happened to him is known to all of us. Mian Nawaz Sharif, otherwise a true nationalist, had fallen out with the army and as a consequence suffered prolonged exile.
Because of a visibly daring clash and undue persistence on it, the mighty Geo has been on the receiving end of an unrelenting backlash from the government. Presently Geo is not available to many viewers in Pakistan. One can imagine the colossal loss in term of finances and image. Mir Shakeel the owner of this huge and popular network is the principal loser.
So the paramount question is that on his return to Pakistan, would Hamid Mir be able to resume unhindered and with complete peace of mind his tasks and chores as he was doing in the past? Even if he is back in Geo, there would always be a lurking danger to his life and to the safety of his family. Would the Geo bosses accept him ignoring the grievous losses of image and revenue that it has suffered on account of Hamid Mir’s flexing his muscles against a powerful contender.
As the adage goes, “there should be a method in madness” yet in case of Hamid Mir there is neither method nor commonsense nor caution. His unbending, unrepentant and aims at embarking on the same path that is spiky and dangerous. But there is no remedy if someone prefers to be reckless.
(The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. This and other articles by the writer can also be read at his blog www.uprightopinion.com)
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