May 19, 2010

Criminal silence

By Habib R. Sulemani

Journalist Hamid Mir has been accused of being involved in an act of terrorism reportedly by some bloger. Personally, I respect Mr. Mir like all other journalists, no matter I agree with their style of journalism or not. However, his interview in daily Dawn on May 19, 2010 – given prominent space on the front page in the print edition and then replaced by another story on the website – has raised some questions:

1- US National Security Adviser General James Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta are reportedly in Islamabad. Why Dawn felt the need to interview Mr. Mir while it is silent on my issue?

2- He has described the taped conversation as doctored, blaming the civilian Intelligence Bureau (IB). Why only the civilian intelligence?

3- If it is part of a “larger game” to malign Mr. Mir and a few other journalists then who are the “few others”?

4- He has denied the content of an alleged statement of the Taliban about the audiotape. Is this technically correct?

5- He has blamed the telephone company PTCL for illegally recording telephones of its subscribers. Only PTCL, not cellular companies?

6- If the IB is working on “the behest of President Zardari and the government” then on whose orders the rogue group of journalists, officials of the Karakoram International University Gilgit and spy agencies tried to kill me and my family members?

7- He claims that the IB had used a special gadget to change his voice. “They took my voice sample and changed it to look my voice through the special gadget.” Really?

8- He warned that tapes of some other journalists would also surface in near future. Tapes of the mind-boggling Taliban, oops, people at Dawn, too?

9- Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) president Pervez Shaukat refused to comment on the issue straight away. Why?

You may—but I don’t know the answers to these questions right now. Because after attempts on my life, I’m locked inside my home for about two months now. Free movement outside my home has become a dream for me. Even my journalist friends are terrified to contact me due to threats and pressures!! As a professional journalist – watchdog of the society – I can't stop myself from raising questions, no matter where and in which condition I’m!

(However, I can answer to most of journalistic questions in the form of literature. To benefit the entire world, this is my revenge from the evildoers, who have declared me a "fifth-column" but their own patriotism is limited to their jobs, promotions and corruption—for which they can even sacrifice humanity. This has really made them frightened).

Despite my request, editor Dawn, president PFUJ, chairperson Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the government are still silent. My appeal for an independent commission to establish the truth and punish the criminal gang has fallen on deaf ears.

Besides the nasty propaganda campaign – in the society and cyberspace – and nerves-breaking psychological warfare, we’re facing death threats. My 66-year-old father is even receiving obnoxious calls and text messages in Pashto, which we can’t understand except the word "Taliban".

The owners of the Dawn Media Group have given autonomy to the editorial management of daily Dawn which is being misused. There is criminal silence after disclosure of the murder plot of my entire family. Intellectual terrorism is a dilemma in my beloved country today. But who cares?



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