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Journalists, Martial Law, Pakistan

Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir sends desperate message to West


By —— Bio and Archives--November 18, 2007

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Hayatullah KhanWord has reached Canada Free Press (CFP) through journalist Hamid Mir in Pakistan about the treacherous situation for journalists since General Perez Musharraf declared martial law.

  Mir is the Executive Editor of GEO Television, Pakistan’s third largest television network.  GEO was pulled off the air by the General Perez Musharraf administration on Nov. 3.  Pakistanis with satellite dishes could watch GEO until November 16, when the network went completely off the air.

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Mir, one of the journalists roughed up when the government sent in the army last March, continues to report on the government of General Musharraf from India.

  “This is a real war against extremism, a war against an extremist Army General who is fighting against his own people,” Mir wrote to Poland-based journalist David Dastych this morning.

  “This General has arrested Aitzaz Ahsan, living symbol of liberalism in Pakistan.  Aitzaz Ahsan is not only a lawyer, but also a poet and writer who always stood for democracy and human rights in my country.”

  (For more information on Ahsan).

  “General Musharraf has subverted the country’s Constitution and by so doing, committed treason, but he want to register a charge of treason against all the journalists who oppose him.

  “I want to make it clear that, yes, he wanted management at GEO Television to fire me.  But the truth is he isn’t really after individuals in media outlets, but after entire institutions.  That is why he shut down the first-ever sports channel of Pakistan’s “GEO Super”.  He then went on to ban a music channel, named “Aag”

  “Since I and others were not playing any dirty games on “GEO Super”, then why did he ban a sports channel?

  “I was not singing any anti-Musharraf songs on the music channel, so why did he ban Aag?”

Mir wrote Dastych that he is very concerned that “ISI directly threatened my Chief Executive, Mir Shakeel ur Rehman on the telephone.”

  “The Musharraf regime wanted to use our channel to malign the country’s honourable judges; they wanted to use us to rigg the upcoming election—but we refused and that was why he was angry with GEO.

  “You should understand that what he actually wants is to destroy us.  He wants to make us jobless and he wants us to beg for mercy.  But we will not be cowed into surrender.  The people of Pakistan are with us and these people will bring us back onto the air soon.”

  “All is chaos here while the outside world can only watch,” Mir wrote.  “Yesterday persons unknown killed the wife of our friend Hayatullah Khan by planting explosives in her house in Mir Ali.

  “Her husband Hayatullah was killed last year in North Wazirastan for exposing the dirty games of the Establishment with his courageous pen.

  “A grief stricken Mehar was pursuing the murder case of her husband.  She had been threatened many times, and a younger brother of Hayatullah was killed only a few months ago, but she was not ready to give up.

  “Now they have silenced the voice of a poor widow who was also a school teacher.  Her assassination is a message to all of us still fighting that our families are not safe.”

  Mir has asked Dastych to get a message to the West:

  “I request that all God-fearing people from all religions pray for us here because we are fighting a war for democracy and human rights.  And we are fighting that war without any guns against those who have all the guns and tanks.”


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Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

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