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Pakistan TV anchor shot

April 20, 2014

Hamid Mir, a popular Pakistani television host, has been severely injured after his car came under attack from unidentified gunmen on motorbikes. It is the latest in a wave of attacks on journalists.

Hamid Mir
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Police said Mir was travelling to his office from the airport in the southern city of Karachi when a single gunman opened fire. Others then chased his car along the road on motorbikes.

Mir, who hosts a talk show on the private television network Geo, suffered three gunshot wounds to the stomach and the upper legs, but is expected to survive.

It is the second attempt on the journalist's life in recent months. Last year a bomb was found planted under his car, but was defused before it could go off.

Mir was one of the first journalists to interview Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks.

He had been a fierce critic of the country's powerful intelligence agencies and military for their alleged role in the disappearance of thousands of people in the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan.

His brother has said "a disgruntled faction" of the army and the country's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency are to blame for the attack.

Amir Mir, also a journalist, said the TV host claimed to have received threats from the ISI because of his political views.

Attacks on journalists

The armed forces have denied the allegations in a statement via the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army's media wing.

The statement said that "raising allegations against ISI or the head of ISI without any basis is highly regrettable and misleading."

It condemned the attack against Mir and called for a public inquiry.

Pakistan is widely considered one of the most dangerous countries for the media.

According to the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, seven reporters have lost their lives in Pakistan in the last year.

Last month Raza Rumi, another prominent television anchor survived a similar assassination attempt in Lahore. He was known for his outspoken critical views of the Taliban.

His driver died in the attack.

ccp/crh (AFP, AP)