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‘Media trial’ of army, ISI must end: govt

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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Friday that the one-sided media trial of the army and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) should end.
Speaking to newsmen outside the Parliament House, Nisar said it was the federal government’s constitutional and legal responsibility to protect the dignity of the Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies, and there should be no ambiguity or fallacy in that respect. The minister said media should show responsibility regarding sensitive issues. Saying that the Jang Group will have to retrace its steps in the greater national interest, the interior minister said the media trial of the top intelligence agency of the country over TV journalist Hamid Mir’s attack would have to end otherwise anti-state elements would take advantage of the situation. 
Nisar said he was personally trying to ensure that the situation does not aggravate from either side. He said the ISPR had strongly condemned the attack on Mir and also demanded an independent commission probe the incident. A media trial, he said, would only create confusion. Nisar said all forces and segments of society were on the same page over the need to conduct a transparent investigation into the attack on Mir and to bring the perpetrators to justice. 
The interior minister said an independent media and honourable and dignified armed forces were the need of Pakistan. He advised both the sides to remain patient and avoid troublemakers. He asked Mir’s family to come forward in case it has any apprehensions about Sindh Police’s investigation and the commission that has been set up to probe the attack, adding that alternate options could be considered.
Nisar said no one should misunderstand and doubt government’s stand on the protection of honour of the country’s defence institutions. He said the government had strongly condemned the attack on Mir and expressed sympathy with his family. “As the interior minister it is my responsibility to bring to justice the perpetrators of Hamid Mir attack.” The minister said it was also his responsibility to ensure that the dignity of defence institutions was safeguarded. 
He said the Sindh government has been investigating the incident, and the federal government is extending all possible support to it. He noted that the federal government has also set up a three-member judicial commission which would prepare its report on the incident within 21 days. The commission, he said, would hand over the report to the government, which would then make it public. Nisar said it would have been much better if the evidence regarding the incident had been shared with the investigation team and the commission, so that probe could be carried out in a meaningful way.
“But unfortunately, media trial continued, and on Thursday evening, brother of Hamid Mir, Amir Mir, made a statement before the media,” Nisar said, adding it would have been better if the statement was made before the investigation team and the commission. Referring to Hamid Mir’s statement in which he alleged that the Islamabad police had not taken action on his complaint about a threatening phone call that he had received, Nisar said, “I ordered an inquiry into it last evening and according to police one incident occurred in 2012 and another five years back. Hamid Mir had not provided any telephone number to police.” 
The interior minister said although the PML-N was not in government in 2012, but he questioned all the officers concerned about the incident but they did not confirm it. He said the brother and wife of Hamid Mir were also contacted, but they also did not have any information about the phone number. About the planting of a bomb on the car of Hamid Mir, he said police had arrested his driver, but he was later released after the Tehreek-e-Taliban accepted responsibility. 

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