I strongly condemn the attack in Karachi on Hamid Mir, the well known Pakistani journalist, who sustained 6 bullet injuries in the attack. This is a direct attack on media freedom, whether it was by the Taliban or ISI or anyone else.
Though I have differed with some of the views of Mr. Hamid Mir, I believe he has the democratic right to express his views.
It is sad that a section of the Pakistan media has condemned Hamid Mir for his criticism of the ISI of Pakistan. But why can an intelligence agency not be criticized in a democracy? In India the C.B.I. has often been criticized.
Those who say that the I.S.I. or other government institutions cannot be criticized forget that in a democracy the people are supreme, and therefore can criticize all government agencies, which are only servants of the people.
In feudal times the king was supreme, and the people were his subjects. Hence the people had no right to criticize the king, and were punished for doing so.
However, in a democracy this relationship is reversed. Now the people are supreme, and all authorities, whether the legislature or the ministers, or judiciary, or bureaucrats, or police, or army, are nothing but the servants of the people. Surely the master has the right to criticize his servant, and take him to task if he is not working properly or doing something improper.
Hamid Mir had blamed the I.S.I. for being behind the criticism of him regarding Veena Malik’s marriage and qawwali, and the disappearance of Baluchi nationalists who were in I.S.I. custody. If the I.S.I. were aggrieved against this it could have filed a defamation case against Mr. Mir, but giving him threats or attacking him is not acceptable in a democracy.
Many independent minded journalists in Pakistan have been attacked (whether by Taliban elements or ISI) and many killed. This is deeply regrettable and condemnable.
Some clerics in Pakistan strongly condemned Geo T.V. for showing a qawwali during Veena Malik’s wedding. This just shows the level of bigotry and stupidity prevailing in Pakistan. If this trend continues. I fear that soon the saner, liberal and secular voices will totally disappear from Pakistan, and even the educated people, out of fear, will keep their mouths shut and bow down permanently before these feudal, fanatic elements in Pakistan, which will drag it into the middle ages.