In the last four days, Pakistan has mainly been in the news over the internet censorship of facebook, youtube and other websites where sacrilegious content is being broadcast against the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him). However, LUBP has not forgotten a matter that has brought great shame to Pakistan’s educated class and the mainstream journalistic community which is the case of Hamid Mir’s conversation with a Taliban, the linkage of the same to Khalid Khawaja’s murder and then the accusations that the conversation was doctored and that Hamid Mir is innocent. In the last 3 days, the chain of events has been:
- Osama Khalid threatening to file an FIR against Hamid Mir
- Hamid Mir threatening to take Daily Times to court
- Daily Times saying they’ll fight it out with Rashed Rehman, Editor saying his paper had published the news and the transcript after a detailed discussion. He said that if his paper had not decided to publish the taped conversation, it could have easily been published on any other media outlet, as the audiotape was easily available on the Internet. He pointed out that the Daily Times published the transcript of the audiotape in the larger interest of the general public, the media and Hamid Mir.
- Jang Group announcing that they are investigating the matter
- Taliban threatening to kill Osama Khalid if action taken against Hamid Mir.
Need we say more? Follow the sequence and a lot will make sense.
Khwaja’s family to register murder case against Hamid Mir
The family of slain former ISI official Khalid Khwaja, who was kidnapped and killed by militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt, has said it will get a murder case registered against popular television anchor Hamid Mir.
Mir has been at the centre of a controversy since a purported telephone conversation between him and a Taliban operative was posted on several websites.
The Daily Times newspaper, which first reported on the tape, has said that information passed on by Mir to the Taliban “could have led to the execution” of Khwaja.
Osama Khalid, the son of the slain former Inter-Services Intelligence official said: “We are going to the police and the Supreme Court in a few days to get a case registered against Mir as he was instrumental in the murder of my father by the Punjabi Taliban.”
He added: “The person who was conversing with Mir on phone about my father was Usman Punjabi alias Umer. I recognise his voice as he (Usman) had spoken to me on five or six occasions when my father was being held by the militants.
A hitherto unheard of group called the Asian Tigers claimed responsibility for the abduction and killing of Khwaja. It said Khwaja was killed as he had admitted to working as a spy for the US and the Pakistani military establishment.
Reports have suggested that Usman Punjabi is the head of the Asian Tigers.
In the recording, Mir is heard accusing Khwaja of being a double agent working for the CIA and of having played a “dirty” role in the 2007 military operation against radical elements holed up in the Lal Masjid in Islamabad.
“I have with me the call record (of the conversation between Mir and Usman Punjabi). The call was made on April 19 and the video of my father’s confessional statement was released to the media on April 23. That is enough evidence to lay hands on this so-called journalist for his role in the killing of my father,” Osama said.
Khwaja was kidnapped with another ISI official Sultan Amir Tarar alias Col Imam and British journalist of Pakistani origin Asad Qureishi on March 26 while en route to Waziristan ostensibly to make a documentary on Taliban.
Khwaja was shot dead on April 30 while the two other men are still in the custody of the Asian Tigers.
Osama further said: “The mistake my father committed was that he had told Mir that he was heading to Waziristan on a peace mission. Mir disclosed this to his friends there.
“The whole family is in shock as to how Mir could do this to my father,” he said.
Osama urged Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to order a judicial inquiry to “find out the truth”.
Osama Khalid to lodge FIR against Hamid Mir
* Former ISI official Khalid Khawaja’s son says audiotape original, will prove it in court
* Demands journalists kick ‘black sheep’ out of profession
LAHORE: Osama Khalid, son of former Inter-Services Intelligence official Khalid Khawaja who was murdered by relatively less-known terrorist group the Asian Tigers on April 23, has said that he will take legal action and register an FIR against Geo News anchor Hamid Mir over what he called “playing an instigative role in his father’s murder”, a private TV channel reported on Wednesday.
Talking to the BBC Urdu, Khalid said the unidentified Taliban in the audiotape was Usman Punjabi who used an alias of Muhammad Omar while talking to various journalists.
Mir, who is in the midst of a raging debate on journalistic ethics, called the taped conversation “doctored”.
Original: Osama rejected Mir’s claims, saying the audiotape was original and he would prove it in court.
“Hamid Mir instigated the militants to murder my father,” he said, adding he would soon register a case against Mir for murdering his father.
He also requested the Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the incident.
Kicking: Osama also demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter, and asked journalists to kick the “black sheep” out of the profession.
The audio clip had Mir divulging dirt on Khawaja, ostensibly to the Taliban militant who was to cross examine the former ISI official.
The person on the other end asks Mir for information on Khalid Khawaja. Mir goes on to link Khawaja to the CIA, an international network of Qadianis and an American named Mansur Ejaz. daily times monitor
Khwaja’s son to file suit against Hamid Mir
Lahore, May 21: Khalid Khwaja’s family plans to register a murder case against the popular television anchor Hamid Mir. The former ISI official Khwaja was kidnapped and assassinated by the militants in Pak tribal belt.
Since the sensationalized telephonic conversation between Khwaja and a Taliban operative was posted on the websites, Mir has been at the centre of the controversy. The information provided by Mir to the Taliban, was suspected to have caused the execution of Khwaja.
“We are going to the police and the Supreme Court in a few days to get a case registered against Mir as he was instrumental in the murder of my father by the Punjabi Taliban,” said Khwaja’s son, Osama Khalid.
“The person who was conversing with Mir on phone about my father was Usman Punjabi alias Umer. I recognise his voice as he
(Usman) had spoken to me on five or six occasions when my father was being held by the militants,” added Osama. He also said that he has the record of the conversation between Usman Punjabi and Mir, made on Apr 19. Osama says that the video of his father’s confessional statement, which was released to the media on Apr 23, is enough to lay hands on Mir.
Osama had requested Iftikhar Chowdhary, the Pak Chief Justice, to order a judicial enquiry to ‘find out the truth’
Investigations on into Hamid Mir’s links with Taliban
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Jang media group has formed a committee to ascertain whether well-known TV anchor Hamid Mir had been taped speaking with a Taliban operative even as media reports said intelligence agencies had confirmed the authenticity of the recording.
Mir has been at the centre of a controversy over the past week after several websites uploaded a 13-minute conversation he purportedly had with a Taliban operative.
In the tape, Mir and the militant discuss the activities of former Inter-Services Intelligence officer Khalid Khwaja, who was recently abducted and killed by the Asian Tigers, a group of Punjabi Taliban.
The Jang media group said in a statement published today in its The News daily that it had set up a committee “to get detailed information” on the issue.
“For credible investigation, the committee has called upon professional journalist organisations to come forward to uncover the truth,” the statement said.
Members of the committee held talks with Mir, who “disowned the voice (said to be his) and termed the audiotape fabricated,” the statement added.
Mir said he would cooperate in the investigation so that the truth is unearthed. Mir claimed “some people want to ostracise him from the profession and they are defaming him as part of a conspiracy.”
However, several TV news channels quoted sources as saying that three intelligence agencies had confirmed the authenticity of the recording after a detailed investigation.
The sources said the intelligence agencies, including the ISI, had submitted a report on the matter to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
“The conversation between Hamid Mir and the Taliban militant is original and has been proved by the audiotape,” the TV channels quoted the report as saying.
Senator Faisal Raza Abidi of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party too said the government had verified the authenticity of the voices on the tape through intelligence agencies.
He said the recording “proved Hamid Mir’s links with the Taliban.”
The Daily Times newspaper, which first reported on the tape, has said that information passed on by Mir to the Taliban “could have led to the execution” of former ISI official Khalid Khwaja.
Osama Khalid, the son of Khwaja, has said that he will take legal action and register an FIR against Mir for “playing an instigative role in his father’s murder.”
Talking to BBC Urdu, Khalid said the unidentified Taliban operative in the recording was Usman Punjabi who used the alias of Muhammad Omar while talking to journalists.
Khalid rejected Mir’s claims that the recording was doctored, saying the tape was original and he would prove it in court.
He demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter and asked journalists to kick “black sheep” out of the profession.
Meanwhile, Daily Times editor Rashed Rahman said legal action must be initiated against Mir after the ISI and government confirmed the authenticity of the taped conversation between the talk show host and a Taliban militant.
“The Daily Times initiated self-accountability in the media by publishing a transcript of the taped conversation between Mir and an unidentified Taliban militant,” he said, adding several people had contacted his media group with evidence against Mir.
Pak Intel agencies confirm authenticity of Hamid Mir’s conversation with Taliban
Thursday, May 20, 2010, 9:52 [IST]
Lahore, May 20 (ANI): Reports of various intelligence agencies, including the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), over the alleged audiotape featuring a conversation between Geo News Executive Editor Hamid Mir and a Taliban spokesman, have confirmed the authenticity of the tape.
According to a television channel, the intelligence agencies have submitted their report to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
“The conversation between Hamid Mir and the Taliban militant is original and has been proved by the audiotape,” The Daily Times quoted a part of the report, as saying.
Meanwhile, Osama Khalid, son of killed former ISI officials Khalid Khwaja has said that he would take legal action against Mir and also lodge a First Information Report (FIR) against him for playing a role in his father’s murder.
“Hamid Mir instigated the militants to murder my father,” Osama said.
He also requested Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the incident and take action against Mir.
Osama also urged the media community to kick out the “black sheep” out of the profession. (ANI)
Intelligence agencies confirm Hamid Mir’s voice in audio clip
* Report says conversation between Hamid Mir and Taliban militant
* BBC says Jang Group is also questioning its TV anchor
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: Intelligence agencies, including the Inter-Services Intelligence have presented an investigation report to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani regarding an audiotape of the telephonic conversation between TV anchor Hamid Mir and an unidentified Taliban militant, a private TV channel reported on Wednesday.
Quoting reliable sources, the channel said the report submitted by three intelligence agencies confirmed the authenticity of the audio clip after a detailed investigation.
Original: “The conversation between Hamid Mir and the Taliban militant is original and has been proved by the audiotape,” the report said.
Mir is currently working as Islamabad Executive Editor for Geo News channel.
According to BBC Urdu, the Jang Group has set up an investigation committee and has announced the conducting of an impartial investigation in this regard.
A large number of websites carry the contents of the audiotape, describing it a candid conversation on the telephone between Hamid Mir and a militant.
Mir, who finds himself in the midst of a raging debate on the issue of journalistic ethics, has described the taped conversation “doctored” and “concocted”.
Separately, Senator Faisal Raza Abidi said the government had verified the authenticity of the voices on the audio tape from intelligence agencies. He said the audio clipping proved Hamid Mir’s links with the Taliban.
Taliban threaten to kill Osama over action against Hamid Mir
* Group threatens Osama with same fate as his father if any action taken against talk show host
* Son of former ISI official says he can confirm Mir, Osman Punjabi murdered his father
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: Osama Khalid, the son of former Inter-Services Intelligence officer Khalid Khawaja, has claimed that the Asian Tigers have indirectly threatened to do the same to him as they did to his father if any action is taken against Hamid Mir, a private TV channel reported on Thursday.
According to the channel, a foreign reporter contacted Osama who informed him that he had received a mail from the terrorist group, in which they were threatening Osama with a similar fate to that of his father if any action was taken against the talk show host.
Can confirm: Separately, while appearing on a private TV channel, Osama said that he has “firm belief” that talk show host Hamid Mir and Osman Punjabi, a militant associated with the Taliban, were the real murderers of his father.
He said he would present all the records of the telephonic conversations that he had held with Osman Punjabi before the court, as he has enough (telephonic) records to support his case, adding that he believed he would get justice from the judiciary regarding the murder of his father. It is worth mentioning that a little-known Asian Tigers militant group murdered the former ISI officer on April 23.
Osama said he had already confirmed that the unidentified militant in the audiotape talking to Hamid Mir was Osman Punjabi, who used his alias Muhammad Omar while talking to various people. “(But) he (Osman) always talked to me with his original name,” Osama said.
The Daily Times published and Business Plus aired news and the complete transcript of the telephonic conversation between Hamid Mir and the Taliban militant. Three major intelligence agencies later confirmed the authenticity of the audiotape, available on various websites. However, the talk show host has described the taped conversation as “doctored”.
Osama said that he would register a case after collecting further evidences in the murder of his father, adding that he would prove before the court that the audiotape was accurate. Besides the holding of a judicial inquiry, he also appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the matter.
Speaking in the same programme, Daily Times Editor Rashed Rahman said his paper had published the news and the transcript after a detailed discussion. He said that if his paper had not decided to publish the tapped conversation, it could have easily been published on any other media outlet, as the audiotape was easily available on the Internet. He pointed out that the Daily Times published the transcript of the audiotape in the larger interest of the general public, the media and Hamid Mir. “Now the situation has changed and some important quarters have confirmed that the tape is original,” he said.
Participating in the debate, senior journalist Talat Hussain said any other media outlet could have published the taped conversation between Hamid Mir and the militant if Daily Times had decided to not report on such an important piece of news. “One thing is clear, the audiotape contains an extremely sensitive content and apparently it seems authentic,” he said, adding that one could easily point out several flaws in the explanation provided by Hamid Mir on the issue. “Technically, it is indispensable to prove the authenticity of the audiotape and prove whether it was valid or fake. A person has lost his life due to the audiotape, and the contents of the tape leave no doubts for Osama Khalid when he connects its content with the incident of his father’s murder,” Talat said.
Also appearing on the programme, Muhammad Arshad, a freelance journalist, said he had informed the late Khalid Khawaja’s family of the former ISI official’s fate a day before his murder. “I suggested to Osama Khalid that if he wanted to save his father’s life, he should contact Maulana Abdul Aziz. A press conference by Abdul Aziz could have saved Khawaja’s life.”
Taliban tape puts Pak journalist Hamid Mir in a spot
In Pakistan’s world of journalism, the man who until now was believed to know the inside story, has now himself become the story. Hamid Mir, executive editor of Geo TV, Pakistan’s premier Urdu news channel, is being accused of instigating murder. In what could grow into a long, murky legal battle, Mir finds himself “wronged.”
Over the past weekend, an audio clip began doing the rounds on the Internet in which Mir and a suspected Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operative are allegedly heard having a conversation.
The voice on tape, said to be Mir’s, instigated the TTP operative against Squadron Leader Khalid Khwaja, a former ISI officer who had been abducted by the TTP along with another ISI officer, Col Imam who is still missing. Mir accused Khwaja of being a CIA agent and a sympathiser of Israel and the Qadiani sect, also known as the Ahmadi sect, which is officially condemned of heresy by Pakistan. Mir told the TTP operative that the Qadianis in his view were “worse off than kaffirs (infidels)”.
Khwaja’s body was found in North Waziristan days after this conversation. Subsequently, Mir also wrote a piece in The News, titled ‘What was the last mission of Khalid Khwaja,’ in which he tried to establish that Khwaja was playing the role of a conduit between the Taliban and Pakistan Army.
Mir has refuted the charges and termed the audio clip as being “manufactured” with bits and pieces from “his innocent conversations”. This conversation was first reported by Pakistan’s English newspaper, Daily Times. The paper also ran two editorials demanding legal action against Mir, who has served legal notices to the publisher, editor and reporter of Daily Times demanding an unconditional apology within two weeks.
Salman Taseer, a PPP stalwart, governor of Pakistani Punjab and owner of the Daily Times is out of the country. Its editor, Rashed Rehman has decided to fight it out in court. “Journalists in Pakistan operate with absolute impunity. All I want is Mir to be properly interrogated and the law to take its course. But considering the dominant view about the man in question, a lot of muck will be raked out once we go to court,” he told The Indian Express on phone from Lahore.
Mir knows the knack of being in the news: be it his much-suspected interview of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden post 9/11 or that of Phoolan Devi who denied having given him any interview, after which his services from Jang were terminated. The influential journalist is visible frequently on Indian news channels. In March, Mir visited India during the 33rd SAARC Literature Festival.
However, the current controversy has left him unable to garner support for himself. Even his employers have distanced themselves. The story is developing with every passing day but there has been no disclaimer from Jang Group, which owns Geo TV, Jang and English daily The News, in which Mir writes. When approached, the Jang Group remain tight-lipped. Sources in Pakistan have told The Indian Express that the Jang Group doesn’t wish to be part of this story which could irreparably tarnish its image as Pakistan’s leading media group.
You have the wrong number, sir
By Sami Shah
May 20, 2010
The recent controversy over an alleged conversation between someone who sounds like Hamid Mir and someone who sounds like a member of the Taliban talking over something that feels like a phone about issues regarding someone who looks like Khalid Khawaja have put the man who seems like a journalist in the middle of something that smells like a disaster. I am not making any statements on the authenticity of the tape because I do not have all the information and mostly because I can’t afford to be hit by a Rs250 million lawsuit. Plus I don’t have the patience to write an article using words like “purportedly”, “supposedly”, “claiming” and “theoretically”.
Here’s what we do know: According to the transcript of the conversation that may or may not have occurred at some point in the space-time continuum between two creatures who may or may not have been human beings, someone who sounds like the Capital Talker is advising someone who sounds like the most clueless member of the Asian Tigers by saying: “Torture him [Khalid Khawaja] until he confesses to being either a CIA agent, a Qadiani, a Blackwater operative, George W Bush in disguise, all of the above.” You almost feel sorry for the poor Tiger as he gets effectively bullied into a corner. This controversy has, if nothing else, provided free PR for the Asian Tigers. It is a viral campaign with low cost and high returns that brand managers everywhere wish they had thought of. It’s scary being a small start-up group of terrorists. You want to make a big impact with minimal resources and if things don’t go according to your hastily improvised plan then you might have to compromise on your brand strategy just to survive, doing silly things like changing from English to Urdu. Your carefully executed act of terrorism may go unnoticed and next thing you know you are the cautionary tale on the terrorism road.
For future reference, the Taliban needs to hire a better PR agency. Their press release was a disaster. They tried to distract from the main issue by waving pictures of hapless girls partying with friends and ending with casual sign offs like “Take care”. Either the spell checker on their MS Word was disabled or they wrote words like “condumn” and “agenceis” on purpose. Either way, it read like a dyslexic’s nightmare. Bin Laden would have never allowed this to be released without a proofreader giving it a thorough onceover. Hamid Mir has, of course, jumped to his own defence with a carefully worded rebuttal of the accusations. He alleges a conspiracy against himself and his employer, which isn’t much of a claim given that every Pakistani is positive there is a conspiracy targeting him/ her personally. I, myself, am certain of Zionists and CIA agents lurking in my peripheral at all times. In an interview with The Guardian he states: “They took my voice, sampled it and manufactured this conspiracy against me”. Wouldn’t it have been easier to hire an impersonator? Or was this the same technology that PML-N MNA Shumaila Anjum Rana said was used to create a 3D avatar of her stealing a credit card a year back? If so, can I get a pirated copy of this software please? Why is it being wasted on discrediting journos and ministers when I could fabricate conversations between myself and Natalie Portman to fool my friends?
If I were Mir, I would worry less about the recording and more about the fact that the Taliban, in their nightmarish stream-of-consciousness press release, have described him as a “repudiated personality.” Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they meant “respected personality.” That’s some damning praise for Hamid Mir. When the Taliban thinks you are doing a good job, you need to question your life choices.