Pakistani journalist and celebrity TV anchor Hamid Mir escaped an assassination attempt on Monday, when the police defused a bomb planted under his car in Islamabad.
The device in a metal box was found stuck under the front passenger seat of Mir’s car. “It was a powerful bomb. Had it gone off, the car would have been blown into pieces,” interior minister Rehman Malik said.
Mir, who hosts Capital Talk, an evening show on Geo TV, and writes a column for Jang, was criticised by the Taliban last month in the wake of the shooting of teenage activist Malala Yousafzai.
The interior minister said that he would offer a reward of Rs5 crore for anyone who provided any information on the accused.
Many journalists have received threats over their coverage of the Malala incident. “The tin box had half a kg of explosives fitted with detonator,” said Islamabad police chief Bani Amin. Mir was on his way to his office and the bomb was apparently planted when he stopped at a market.
Mir told the media that he had received threats in the past. While the government had offered him police protection, he had refused it on grounds that a journalist cannot work under police cover. However, a policeman has been stationed at Mir’s house. The police now plan to increase the security cover.
“They want to stop us [journalists] from speaking the truth but I want to tell them that we will not be deterred,” said Mir.