A file photo of Pakistani journalist and television anchor Hamid Mir in Islamabad. (AFP photo)
Senior Pakistani television journalist Hamid Mir, who faced threats from the Taliban and other terror groups, was on Saturday repeatedly shot at by four unidentified men as he left the Karachi airport for his office.
His car was attacked by assailants travelling in a car and two motorbikes, Geo News reported. The attackers then followed him for 6-7 km while shooting at his car.
Geo News reported that Mir called up his office to inform them of the attack. He was immediately rushed to a hospital where he was undergoing an operation. Mir was shot thrice, in the pelvic, abdomen and thighs, but was said to be out of danger.
Mir is a news anchor and security analyst with the Pakistan's Geo TV. He currently hosts a political talk show, Capital Talk, and also writes columns for several newspapers. Mir is known for interviewing former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. He covered the Isreal-Lebanon conflict and has been given Pakistan's top civil award.
In a statement, the journalist blamed Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency ISI for the attack. Fellow journalist Ansar Abbasi said the ISI was after Mir since he had reported about the missing people in Balochistan province, many of whom had allegedly been killed and kidnapped by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.
Calling it a targeted operation, Karachi police chief Shahid Hayat indicated that the attackers wanted to scare Mir and not kill him.
Pakistan is one of the most unsafe places in the world for journalists. According to 'Reporters Without Borders', seven journalists were killed in Pakistan in 2014. It occupies 158th position out of 180 countries in press freedom rankings.
The issue of security of media personnel was raised by Committee to Protect Journalists, a media advocacy group, during a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month.
The Prime Minister had promised to take appropriate steps to ensure security of journalists in Pakistan.
Mir, who hosts the longest running talk-show on Geo News, had complained of receiving death threats from the country's powerful intelligence agency. In November 2012, a bomb was recovered from under his car which was believed to have been planted by the Pakistani Taliban.
Last month Raza Rumi, a prominent television anchor known for his outspoken views against the Taliban, survived a similar assassination attempt in Lahore. Rumi's driver died of the injuries he sustained.