ISLAMABAD/ HYDERABAD: The government will not allow any vilification campaign targeting Pakistan Army or its premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Friday.
“It is a constitutional and legal responsibility of the government to defend and preserve the sanctity of our armed forces and intelligence agencies,” Nisar told reporters in Islamabad. “No one should have any doubt about where the government stands on this issue,” he said, reiterating the statement multiple times during the course of the interaction.
“We cannot allow anyone to become the judge, jury and prosecutor under the pretext [of Hamid Mir attack]. Putting a stop to this media trial is in the best interest of the country,” Nisar added, pointing out that both the Indian and US media had followed Geo TV’s lead and started vilifying the ISI. The minister also rejected Mir’s claims that he had informed the Islamabad police about threats to his life.
“Contrary to what he claimed in his statement [on Wednesday], Hamid Mir did not report any incident or file any complaint with Islamabad police since we [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] came to power… there is no record of any complaints regarding threats to Hamid’s family,” he said.
“No contact number was ever shared with the police. When we contacted Mir’s wife and brother, they told us that one of the incidents mentioned in the statement took place in 2012 while the other, involving his children, was five-year old.”
Regarding the 2012 incident, where a bomb was planted underneath Mir’s car, the minister said investigations were shelved after the Taliban claimed responsibility. He pointed out that Rehman Malik was the interior minister at the time.
Niasr invited Mir’s family to submit with investigators any evidence they have regarding the attack. “Even if they have any reservations over the investigating teams or the judicial commission, there are still forums available for that,” he said.
In the meanwhile, the interior minister said he was mediating between the ISI and Geo TV’s administration, and trying to lower tensions between them.
Army indispensible for Pakistan: Rafique
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Friday said some journalists were using ‘partisan journalism’ in a bid to bring Pakistan Army into disrepute.
“This is not good for Pakistan and these journalists are not well-wishers of the country,” he told reporters in Hyderabad, which he has been visiting since Thursday night.
Rafique criticised a section of the media for compromising on journalism for their ratings. “Journalism should be based on truth. Partisanship is bringing Pakistan into disrepute internationally,” he said.
“The army is indispensable for Pakistan and a responsible and free media is essential for democracy… Pakistan is facing both internal and external threats, and the emergence of a conflict between media and the state institutions in such a situation is regrettable,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2014.