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Pakistan: Journalist Hamid Mir faces sedition charges for threatening to reveal military secrets after being taken off-air

Hamid Mir had threatened to reveal the secrets of the military establishment after they attacked fellow journalist Asad Ali Toor

Days after Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir was taken off air for his critical remarks against the ISI and the military establishment, a petition seeking sedition charges was filed against him on Friday (June 4) in the Lahore High Court.

As per Dawn, the contentious petition was filed before the High Court by one Sardar Farrukh Mushtaq through advocate Nadeem Sarwar. The petitioner alleged that the statement made by Hamid Mir on May 28 contained ‘serious derogatory remarks’ and allegations against the ‘discipline institution of Pakistan.’ Furthermore, he alleged that Mir’s behaviour amounted to contempt of society and the institutions. The Interior Ministry, Ministry of Law and Justice, and the Geo News journalist were added as respondents to the petition.

The petition read, “Sedition is a crime against the whole society, in all civilised countries and orderly governments. The integrity and preservation of state and its institutions is matter of great vital concern and is so sacred that no attempt at its disruption or weakening, directly or indirectly will be countenanced. In the present case the federal government has failed to lodge a complaint against Hamid Mir which is mandatory duty of the government. The act and inaction on upon the part of government functionaries amount to dereliction of duty prescribed by the Constitution and law.”

The petitioner claimed that the respondents failed to take action against Hamid Mir under Section 124A (sedition) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860. He has asked the Lahore High Court to direct the government to file a complaint against the veteran journalist through an ‘authorised individual.’ Interestingly, the Court’s registrar noted in an objection sheet that the application was not first submitted to a relevant forum before being moved in the High court.

Hamid Mir ostracised over critical remarks against ISI, Pakistani army

On May 28, the former Geo News journalist had attended a gathering of Pakistani journalists for showing solidarity with fellor journalist Asad Ali Toor. The latter was attacked at his residence in Islamabad by three unidentified assailants on May 25 at 11 o’clock in the morning. Toor was then reportedly dragged to his bedroom and then brutally assaulted and gagged. According to the journalist, the assailants identified themselves as members of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). 

An agitated Hamid Mir had condemned the attack on Asad Ali Toor and threatened to reveal the secrets of the military establishment.  “If you are a man of courage, then, publicly acknowledge that you ambushed the house of Asad Ali Toor. But you are such shameless and cowardly that you cannot accept it. Instead, you claim that he was beaten by the brother of one girl. We are up against a cowardly enemy which believes that we don’t know them. We know who you’re,” he emphasised. Hamid Mir further stated that the establishment is miffed at the media for not giving in to their demands of establishing diplomatic relations with Israel and India.

Following his comments, he was taken off air by Geo News. The channel had said that the veteran journalist has been sent on leave for some time and that he will not be hosting his popular program.

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