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Senior Pakistani journalist narrowly escapes bomb attack

(PPF/IFEX) - November 27, 2012 - Senior journalist Hamid Mir escaped a bomb attack on November 26, 2012 in Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad. Mir is the anchorperson of the popular talk show Capital Talk, broadcast on Pakistan's largest television channel Geo TV.

An improvised explosive devise containing a kilogram of explosives was attached under Mir's car, as he was coming back from a market along with his driver on the morning of November 26. The journalist informed the police and Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) which succeeded in disarming the bomb. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) said a proper investigation would be initiated soon at the scene of the market place with the help of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed at various locations.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attempted explosion. In October, Mir was criticised by the Pakistani Taliban for his column published in the Urdu-Language daily newspaper Jang, speaking out against the shooting of teenage rights activist Malala Yousafzai. He has also remained critical, in his talk shows, of the role of intelligence agencies in enforced disappearance cases in Balochistan. However, intelligence officials earlier said the Taliban sent a message warning that numerous suicide bombers have been assigned to attack journalists, with Geo TV at the top of the list of targets because of its wide coverage of the attack on Yousafzai by the Taliban. Mir had said he was not scared of these attacks.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) expressed great concern over the attempted attack on Mir. PFUJ Secretary General Amin Yousuf said: "Such acts amount to efforts to silence those who support freedom of expression. But media can never be silenced." He noted that there has been a surge in attacks on the media which is a deplorable trend and it is the responsibility of the government to provide journalists with protection.

The Rawalpindi/Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), the Bahawalpur Union of Journalists (BUJ) and other journalists throughout the country have also expressed deep concern over the attack on the senior journalist. They called on the government to arrest those involved in such a heinous act.

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