Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, who has been linked by several Pakistani websites to the killing of a former intelligence official by the Taliban, refutes the accusations in this e-mail sent to The Washington Times in response to an article that appeared in Tuesday’s editions:
The Washington Times has published a story today “Terrorist Hit Puts Pakistani Reporter Under Fire” (by Eli Lake - Reporter - The Washington Times - 25 May 2010)
WT said that Hamid Mir has old links with extremists because he interviewed Osama bin Laden. What about my interviews with Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, General Richard B Myers, Richard Armitage and Hilary Rodham Clinton? First of all, I am not the only one who interviewed Osama bin Laden. Robert Fisk interviewed him before me. Peter Bergen and Rahimullah Yousafzai are other examples. Now there are contradictions to be noted. Daily Times claiming that intelligence agencies have presented a report against me to the [Pakistani] Prime Minister.
Initially a government senator was also attacking me on different TV channels but Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira clearly said on May 25 that Hamid Mir is a target of a conspiracy and government have nothing against him. President Zardari has also cleared it to me personally that nobody from [the Pakistan People’s Party] is involved in this conspiracy. Family of Khalid Kahwaja openly declared me a CIA agent and also accepted that one son of Kahwaja works for al Qaeda. Come and see that banners are hanging on Murree Road and other areas of Rawalpindi in my support. These banners have been placed by traders, students and other sections of life. Common Pakistanis are with me but a section of ruling elite is against me. I am forced to believe that some elements in the intelligence used my media colleagues against me because I was not in control of any intelligence outfit. One of my crimes was that I wrote an article against a serving general of the Pakistan Army.
I am still not sure that who is my actual enemy because nobody have come out openly against me yet. There is no FIR (police complaint), no official inquiry and nobody contacted me for any investigation. According to my information, this whole drama was organized after one of my articles against a serving Army General, Nadeem Ejaz, was published in The News on April 26.This General was involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. U.N. report pointed fingers towards him but President Asif Ali Zardari government failed to nab him.
This conspiracy was hatched by some elements in the intelligence outfits with the help of a newspaper published from Lahore.This newspaper Daily Times was the first to publish this scandal against me on May 16. DT published a one-sided story with a one-sided analysis on the front page. DT tried to establish that I am a Taliban collaborator and I am responsible for the killing of Khalid Khawaja. In fact I received threatening e-mails from the same group which killed Khalid Khawaja and I mentioned these e-mails in my column of Daily Jang on May 6. I will produce many other facts in front of inquiry committees of (Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists). This column is in Urdu, but I mentioned that Asian Tigers is threatening media.
Secondly, I can send you dozens of columns written in English and Urdu in which I criticized both Taliban and security forces but I am the one who visited Swat when it was a no-go area and I wrote columns about the atrocities of Taliban against innocent women. Read these two articles in English.)
I predicted victory of security forces against Taliban.
I did maximum [TV] shows against suicide bombings. Many scholars who opposed suicide bombings in my show were killed by Taliban. Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi, Maulana Hasan Jan and Maulana Merajudin are three examples. I also received threats and then I did shows against the threats.
Now come to the Khalid Khawaja. I had no personal enmity with him. I never resigned from Daily Ausaf because of Khawaja sahib. Please contact the administration of Daily Ausaf in Islamabad. I resigned because I joined Geo TV in 2002. Khawaja sahib participated in my shows many times and interestingly, I asked him some of the questions you raised in your column. He was a multi-dimensional personality. He was assassinated in April and my alleged conversation with him surfaced in the 3rd week of May. Nobody is owning this tape. Nobody is interested to know that who is actually responsible for the death of Khawaja sahib? Nobody raising question that who actually sent Khawaja sahib to tribal areas? This tape drama had only one objective: Some forces wanted me to shut my mouth. That’s all.
Khalid Khawaja was killed in North Wazirastan. Everybody knew that he was kidnapped in Mir Ali but the alleged conversation said that he was with Tariq Afridi of Darra Adamkhel. According to media reports Taliban killed him because they suspected him of organizing an attack on their commander Hakilmullah Mehsud. There is no drone attack against Tariq Afridi till today. Before the assassination Khalid Khawaja confessed in a video message that he was an agent of ISI and CIA. But my alleged conversation said that he was not ISI but a CIA agent.
Khalid Khawaja was assassinated on April 30. Intelligence agencies remained silent for three weeks. In the meanwhile I did a show on the road with the families of abducted political workers in front of parliament house on May 5. One journalist, Shakeel Turabi, also spoke in my show and claimed that his son was kidnapped by agencies. That was the first-ever talk show with the families of missing persons in which a government minister Firdous Ashiq Awan was speechless in front of woman crying for their dear ones. Many people feared that I will face trouble after that show. Just read the comments of the viewers who clearly said that “Hamid Mir will no more be tolerated.”
After three weeks of the murder of Khawaja, a fabricated audio tape was provided to some journalists and Daily Times published a story against me on May 16. They tried to link me with Taliban.
Above conversation is very interesting. Hamid Mir is saying that Khalid Khawaja was not ISI but a CIA agent and the unidentified militant is claiming that Khalid Khawaja was involved in the killing of some Army Brigadiers in Rawalpindi. Here is the so-called conversation:
UM: Yes, he used to ask my companions to work in Pakistan as we say. Actually, the killings of brigadiers in Rawalpindi might have been arranged by him, I think.
HM: It might be possible, but I have been watching this guy for the last 13 or 14 years and he is a suspected man.
Again Hamid Mir saying that Khalid Khawaja is linked with Americans and the militant saying that a son of Khawaja is with al Qaeda.
HM: He (Khawaja) himself has confessed in front me that he had links with William Casey. Ok! Leave William, ask him about the Qadiyanis, because I personally believe that Qadiyanis are worse than infidels, what kind of links does he have with Qadiyanis? What relationship does he have with Mansoor Ijaz? Why does he use his money? Why does he go everywhere with him when he comes to Pakistan? Why does he bring him to the mujahideen?
UM: Yes, he has a son in al Qaeda.
Question, is that if these militants are Taliban and Kahwaja was also involved in terrorism then why they killed him? I think this militant is fake and somebody recorded his voice and fitted in a so-called conversation with me. In this conversation I said that I resigned from Daily Ausaf because Khawaja hatched a conspiracy against me. In fact, I resigned Ausaf in 2002 because i joined Geo TV. Here i am sure that they used my doctored voice but incorrect information about me never helpedthem.
Now you are accusing me to have links with Taliban but the son of Khalid Kahwaja saying that Hamid Mir is a CIA agent. He said these things on Royal TV and his statement was also published in Daily Times. (Zaid Hamid also declared me a CIA agent last year).
I will not say anything about the son of Khawaja sahib because he lost his father but let me tell you one thing clearly. I never wanted that Khawaja sahib should be killed. I never had this kind of conversation with any unidentified man and I am open to any inquiry. Lastly I must say that I will be vindicated because I am innocent.
Lastly, will you please raise this question that no common Pakistani can enter in Tribal Areas without the local ID card these days? We cannot go beyond Bannu but how did Khalid Khawaja along with two other people reached to North Waziristan? Who allowed them to enter from Bannu to FATA? Who actually sent them? Why I am the only target? I never sent them to North Waziristan. Why my critics are not interested in saving the lives of other two hostages?
Kindly publish my clarification that I am open to any kind of inquiry. From the day one but today government spokespersons have given me a clean chit.