The Alleged Stunning Indiscretion of a News Anchor

One of our friends recently wrote: “Two highly recommended books for those who wish to understand Pakistan: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Castle by Frank Kafka”.

This is not a cynical view of Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that is a conundrum wrapped within a puzzle inside an enigma. As the previous proxy state militia broke into different factions and is now fighting the state, the lines between friends and foes are blurred. ISI that used to formant proxy militias to further its causes in Kashmir and Afghanistan is now itself being attacked by its very own Frankenstein.

The previous masters of the Taliban are now either their prisoners or being killed by them. A case of Khalid Khwaja and Colonel Imam is a sad reflection of the evil of the religious extremism that is consuming itself due to the utter chaos that it represents.

Mr. Khwaja’s life was remarkable in itself for all the intrigues that were associated with him. Not many people have accused General Zia-ul-Haq for not fully implementing the Islamic Sharia in Pakistan. He was one of the accusers, and after promptly being dismissed by the General, Mr. Khwaja went on to play significant roles in assembling alliances against the PPP government of Ms. Benazir Bhutto. Taking on the causes of Jihadis, he managed to appear in the news on and off, even volunteering to take on the case of five Americans who were apprehended in Pakistan while allegedly looking to train for Jihad.

Mr. Khwaja was killed two weeks back. And now we have a stunning story breaking on various blogs that Mr. Hamid Mir, one of the most renowned TV anchormen in Pakistan, was caught talking to a Taliban person on the phone.

http://criticalppp.org/lubp/archives/10918

See the full transcript of the phone conversation here:  

http://www.mediafire.com/?z0uzhzdnxtq

In the phone call, the voice that seems to be of Mr. Mir, implicated the then imprisoned Khalid Khwaja as a CIA agent, responsible for shameful tactics by the Maulana at the red mosque (where he was caught escaping while wearing a burqa), being in touch with CIA agent William Casey and another person named Mansoor Ijaz. In almost 12 minutes of recording, the voice resembling Mr. Mir is heard giving Taliban details about Pakistan Army plans to attack North Waziristan with 40,000 troops, condemning Qadianis as worst than infidels, and condemning Khalid Khwaja roundly as worst of the worst (read CIA agent), and responsible for the defeat and humiliation of the Jihadis hold up inside the Red Mosque in Islamabad.

Unlike Mr. Mir, or his brethren in the media who have been vociferously denouncing anyone who disagrees with their make believe world of CIA agents roaming in Pakistan, Blackwater and evil PPP government, we would like to say that Mr. Mir deserves the benefit of the doubt. While Mr. Mir, or his erstwhile Pakistani anchors have been quick in condemning their detractors as liberal fascists or American agents, we believe that the following should be carefully considered since the taped conversation, if proven genuine, already has resulted in the death of Mr. Khwaja and casts a lot more disturbing questions:

1 . Who taped this conversation and why was a news anchor phone being tapped? One likely reason would be that Mr. Mir was under suspicion being in contact with the Taliban and his phone was duly tapped by the intelligence agencies. However it is imperative that the source of this leak be established to verify the legality and reasons behind tapping of a journalist’s phone calls.

2. Whose voice on the phone is there? For anyone who has listened to Mr. Hamid Mir, the voice seems remarkably like Mr. Mir’s. This is a full 12 minutes conversation, and if some how the government machinery has been able to replicate Mr. Mir’s voice with all the intonations and frankness while talking to a Taliban person, then Pakistani intelligence may have scaled new heights in scientific innovation. Most likely, after hearing the conversation it is hard to imagine that somehow a voice with all its variations and occasional passion was a concocted fake.

3. In an ideal world, a respectable High Court judge would investigate the phone tape, the events surrounding its leak, and the authenticity of the voice on the tape. This is important because Mr. Mir has accused the earth and the skies for planning a grand conspiracy against him and the free media in Pakistan. A simple question to ask is: is this voice Hamid Mir’s or not?

Unfortunately, Pakistan is anything but an ideal world. Yet, Mr. Mir is one of the leading anchors of the country and a person who influences thousands of Pakistanis with his reports and commentaries. For someone to be talking to a group that proudly says that there are more suicide bombers on their way, and glean information about ex-Pakistani military men to decide on their execution are irresponsible and outrageous. Does anyone in Pakistan possess the ability to appoint a neutral investigator to fully investigate these serious charges?

4. Unfortunately, Mr. Mir’s first response to this tape raises even more suspicions. A normal response would probably read something like this: “I would like to unequivocally state that a forged tape has been attributed to my name. The voice on this tape is not mine. I have not talked to Taliban to give any information about Mr. Khalid Khwaja or Pakistan Army’s plans to attack the North Waziristan. I will treat any such accusations as casting aspersions on my character and would duly pursue my accusers in the court of law”.

However, Mr. Mir’s response was condemning a one-sided concocted story, bits and pieces of his previous conversations (innocent journalistic pieces) combined in that tape, and a long list of grand conspiracy charges against Mr. Salman Taseer (owner of the Daily Times) and Mr. Hussain Haqqani (alleged owner of the LUBP blog).

If the voice belongs to Mr. Mir, then we can be sure that there are no holy cows in any profession. Just because Mr. Hamid Mir is a well known journalist doesn’t mean that he is above the law. The possible charges are extremely serious if the voice is confirmed to be that of Mr. Mir’s.

And finally, only an independent investigation can help Mr. Mir clear his name. The extreme similarity in the voice over the phone versus his own, his muddled response after the tape release, and the similarity between his claims over the phone vs. what he has been writing about Khalid Khwaja are enough to cast serious doubts about his protestations for innocence. It is just not enough for him now to blame grand conspiracies for this tape. The first and foremost question is establishing if the voice over the phone is indeed Mr. Hamid Mir’s or not. This is an extremely serious matter; either a leading news anchor has instigated a cold blooded killing of an ex-ISI official by colluding with the Taliban, or he is under an enormously false accusation designed to destroy his professional career and personal life. Either way, a complete judicial enquiry is in order right now.

P.S. For a better reading on Mr. Mir’s response and likely reasons behind the leak of the story, the following link to Cafe Pyala is recommended: http://cafepyala.blogspot.com/2010/05/smoking-gun_15.html

The Daily Times editorial in response to Mr. Hamid Mir’s accusations is at the following link: http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20105\18\story_18-5-2010_pg1_4

24 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, North-West Frontier Province, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror

24 responses to “The Alleged Stunning Indiscretion of a News Anchor

  1. Excellent analysis!

    One correction is however necessary.

    The LUBP blog is owned by the people of Pakistan, not by Hussain Haqqani:

    http://criticalppp.org/lubp/archives/4491

  2. How on earth a mullah who was considered extreme by none else than Ameerul Momineen (zia) himself ended up as an undercover Qadiyani?

    There is little doubt that the voice belongs to Hamid Mir. There is no doubt that the conversation actually took place and was not fabricated or doctored. The evidence may be thrown out of court on legal grounds, but Hamid Mir seems to have contributed to the murder of Mr. Khawaja.

    Who is this Masoor Ijaz fellow? Right wing media has been branding him as a Qadiyani agent for a while but I want to know the facts?

  3. Israr

    Mediocre media men and mullah in Pakistan usually label anyone as ‘Qadiani’ for who they cannot fit elsewhere while presenting conspiracy theories.

  4. Jamal

    Khalad Khawaja’s son;

    aajkal.com.pk/news/2010/5/19/Fp_n3.jpg

  5. @AZW
    as always balance take…
    The audio tape was first issued by a page of ISI fans with the same name.
    What HM has discussed in this tape is beyond journalistic conversations, as in the very first lines he starts, “Dhamakey Dhamookey ho rahe hain”(bombings and blasts are going on). What nonsense and insensitivity he has shown. And how he has referred to Ahmedis, what a shame?
    The way he has responded is not enough to clear the dust, even the clearification issued by the Taliban has also in the same way as HM does blamed some personalities and warned PTCL of involvement in recording of conversation.
    HM as he claims is an investigative journalist and he has revealed that OBL has nukes, in the same advanced world where someone carry and run with a briefcase loaded with nukes, their are instruments available to check whether the sounds is real or the tape is concocted or not…go ask for that in spite of issuing clearifications through Taliban or responding in a way he is alreading doing.

  6. YLH

    I am surprised that Jang Group still hasn’t taken action against him… how frikkin’ odd.

  7. YLH

    But then they retained the services of Jaahil Online as well … after he called for the murder of Ahmadis…

    How ironic… Mir Shakil-ur-rahman’s wife is a practising and devout Ahmadi… he should atleast have some shame and show Hamid Mir the door.

  8. Majumdar

    condemning Qadianis as worst than infidels

    I am familiar with this argument. Almost every Muslim I asked this question on chowk (barring Masadi sb) replied unconditionally that the Mirzaee was worst than the Yahood or the Hanood. The argument being that the latter were kaffirs who were honest about their affiliations, but the former were dangerous apostates who intend to mislead the bholi bhali ummah by misrepresenting themselves as Muslims.

    Regards

  9. @Majumdar

    Just curiousity, but do you know of a parallel situation among Hindus? The worst i can think of is the accusation that Tagore was from a family of Pirali Brahmins.

  10. Yasir Qadeer

    Every now and then a new ‘conspiracy theory’ hits the billboards in Pakistan. Although in this case, if this found to be true then the accused must be asked for his ties with the militant group and why was he sharing the information about army with him? On one side when army is trying its best to root out terrorism from this soil, efforts like these pose a great threat to this effort.

  11. “Worst than Kaafirs” is nowadays used by these exclusionist idiots and SSP fanatics against Shias also…
    First they have used it against Ahmedis, and as someone had quoted Molana Noorani saying, “hamein pata hai K ‘Kaaley jhandey’ K baad ‘Harey Jhandey’ Ki baari hei…
    (we know after ‘the Black flag’ of shias they will turn to ‘the green flag’ of Barelvis.

  12. Zainab Ali

    The author has very rightly pointed out that a serious judicial inquiry is needed to clear the doubts on every Pakistani’s mind. If a person of Hamid Mir’s stature is involved in such a heinous act then he must be punished.

  13. Majumdar

    Dada,

    Just curiousity, but do you know of a parallel situation among Hindus?

    The closest parallel I can think of to Mirzaees among Hindoos is Brahmos but I dont think they quite provoke the kind of annoyance that mlechhas do among Hindoos or Mirzaees do among Moslems.

    Otherwise one cud always thought of Brahmos or Arya Samajis as the Hindoo Mirzaees. (I am excluding Jains/Buddhists/Sikhs ‘cos they dont misrepresent themselves as Hindoos anyways)

    Regards

  14. PMA

    Pakistan court bans Facebook site

    A court in Pakistan has ordered the authorities temporarily to block the Facebook social networking site. The order came when a petition was filed after the site held a competition featuring caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The petition, filed by a lawyers’ group called the Islamic Lawyers’ Movement, said the contest was “blasphemous”. A message on the competition’s information page said it was not “trying to slander the average Muslim”. “We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Muhammad depictions that we’re not afraid of them,” the statement said. “They can’t take away our right to freedom of speech by trying to scare us into silence.” Correspondents say that publications of similar cartoons in Danish newspapers in 2005 sparked angry protests in Muslim countries – five people were killed in Pakistan.

    Internet is free in Pakistan but the government monitors content by routing all traffic through a central exchange. Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court ordered the department of communications to block the website until 31 May, and to submit a written reply to the petition by that date. An official told the court that parts of the website that were holding the competition had been blocked, reports the BBC Urdu service’s Abdul Haq in Lahore. But the petitioner said a partial blockade of a website was not possible and that the entire link had to be blocked.

    The lawyers’ group says Pakistan is an Islamic country and its laws do not allow activities that are “un-Islamic” or “blasphemous”. The judge also directed Pakistan’s foreign ministry to raise the issue at international level. In the past, Pakistan has often blocked access to pornographic sites and sites with anti-Islamic content. It has deemed such material as offensive to the political and security establishment of the country, says the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad.

    In 2007, the government banned the YouTube site, allegedly to block material offensive to the government of Pervez Musharraf. The action led to widespread disruption of access to the site for several hours. The ban was later lifted.

  15. hobo

    just a few words, though i am no fan of mr mir, he is innocent until proven guilty , and according to the law of the land the onus of proof does not lie on him but on the prosecution, the question is will anyone prosecute, in this befuddled world where nearly everyone is compromised in one way or another

  16. Jamal

    Puppet strings — Nadeem F. Paracha
    blog.dawn.com/2010/05/19/puppet-strings/

  17. Ali Abbas

    Hamid Mir, the champion of the Taliban and the lawyer’s “movement” does not have the decency to condemn and distance himself from the hateful, bigotted remarks against Ahmadi muslims. This is the same guy who allowed the other Taliban cheerleader and apologist, Imran Khan, to accuse Dr. Pervaiz Hoodbhoy of being a CIA agent on his show. As per Hamid Mir, anyone who opposes the Taliban is a “liberal facist”. This guy is one sick man and reflects appropriately on the various “causes” he has taken up from his corporate sponsored media pulpit

  18. Jamal

    Another twist, Hamid Mir is being sued;
    bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2010/05/100519_hamid_mir_controversy_as.shtml

  19. znt.griz

    Hamid Mir is a liar and a supporter of the terrorists. This exposure should be thoroughly investigated. HM is left with no credibility but the JANG group is famous for the fanning the flames of hatred, just good business for them.

  20. Jamal

    Hamid Mir, who finds himself in the midst of a raging debate on the issue of journalistic ethics, has moved a step further from describing the taped conversation as doctored or concocted to completely denying that it was his voice.

    dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/anchor-claims-damning-tape-doctored-950

  21. znt.griz

    LIAR LIAR FATBOY SHOULD BE FIRED!!!

  22. Jamal

    Tape is genuine;
    aajkal.com.pk/news/2010/5/20/Fp_n7.jpg

  23. Such a well-written piece—who wrote it?

  24. nasir jan

    Hamid Mir will get bitch slapped if i ever bump into him