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Pak heat on bold scribe

New Delhi, Dec. 10: Pakistani scribe Amir Mir, who got on the wrong side of the authorities after he exposed Dawood Ibrahim’s presence and growing clout in Pakistan, is now facing the wrath of the Pervez Musharraf regime.

Two days after Musharraf described his reports as “anti-army” and “anti-national,” Mir’s car was set on fire by “unidentified” miscreants in front of his Lahore home. The ISI, which is as notorious within Pakistan as it is outside, claimed responsibility for the arson and warned that this was just the beginning and more was to come.

Human rights organisations, like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have written to Musharraf asking him to denounce the attack on Mir and other journalists in the country. However, neither Musharraf nor his office have distanced themselves from the threat that the President made during a party for senior editors of Pakistani newspapers and journals.

On November 20, Musharraf held an Iftar party for senior editors and journalists in Islamabad. However, the editors of The Independent and the Herald, which have published a number of critical pieces on Musharraf and the Pakistan army, were invited to the reception.

During the party, Musharraf singled out articles written by Mir on Dawood and on the division within the Pakistani army. He urged the editors to desist from such “anti-army” and “anti-national” reports.

When some of the journalists suggested that he channel his complaints against Mir’s reporting through the Council of Pakistani Newspapers, Musharraf said that the time has come to deal with Mir and the Herald.

On November 22, two days after Musharraf’s reported threat, Mir’s car, which was parked outside his house in Lahore’s Faisal Town, was set on fire by three unidentified men. According to Mir’s complaint lodged with the local police, three men in a white Toyota Corolla without any registration numbers drove into his colony, got out of their vehicle and set Mir’s car on fire after sprinkling it with petrol.

A security guard in the area tried to stop the three men as they fled in their vehicle, but the miscreants fired at him and managed to escape.

Later, Mir claimed that an unidentified caller told him on the telephone that he was from the ISI and while taking responsibility for setting his car ablaze, warned the journalist that this was only the beginning and more was to follow.

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