A prominent Pakistani journalist, who was taken off air indefinitely for making hard-hitting remarks against the country’s powerful military establishment in the wake of an attack on a fellow scribe, has apologised and said he had no intention to defame the Army.
Hamid Mir, the popular host of political talk show Capital Talk’ of Geo News channel, on May 28 delivered a fiery speech at a protest staged by scribes against an attack by three “unknown” persons on journalist and YouTuber Asad Ali Toor in Islamabad.
Mir demanded accountability for the attack, which was a series of such assaults on media persons who are critical of the country’s military. Following his speech, he was taken off air on May 30.
A joint statement issued by a committee formed by the Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), the National Press Club and Mir on Tuesday said he had no intention to defame the Army and respect it as an institution from the core of his heart.
The purpose of my speech was not at all to hurt the feelings and sentiments of others but still I sincerely apologise if my words lacerated the sentiments of someone, Mir said.
The Army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy. However, the military has denied meddling in the country’s politics.
Earlier, Mir had said that he would apologise if the attackers of Toor were arrested and brought to justice. However, apparently he budged at the request of fellow journalists who wanted to defuse the tension.
Talking to the media, Mir said he had made the explanatory statement before an elected body of journalists. He said the Geo TV management had also sought an explanation from him, but he did not respond as he had made his speech from the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) platform and not Geo.