May 31st, 2021 

By VoicePk Staff 


Journalists, civil society, media watchdogs, and opposition leaders strongly condemned the removal of senior anchor Hamid Mir from his show by the channel management while the government distanced itself from the removal saying it had no role in internal decisions of any broadcast organisation.

On Monday, twitter was abuzz with reports that Geo News had off-aired Hamid Mir from his show over a critical speech he made in support of video journalist Asad Toor during a demonstration in Islamabad to condemn the assault.

In a reply to a tweet by anchor Asma Shirazi about the reports, Hamid Mir hinted that the management had taken him off of his popular primetime show Capital Talk. “Nothing new for me. I was banned twice in the past. Lost jobs twice, “ he said in his tweet.

Hamid Mir revealed that his family members were also being threatened following a speech in which he harshly criticised the impunity towards journalists in the country.

“Survived assassination attempts but cannot stop raising voice for the rights given in the constitution, he tweeted. “This time, I’m ready for any consequences and ready to go at any extent because they are threatening my family, Mir added.

‘No govt role in broadcast outlets’ internal decisions’

In a tweet, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry clarified that the government had nothing to do with Hamid Mir’s removal from his show. “All broadcast organisations make their own decisions regarding what programmes to on-air and what their teams should be. We have nothing to do with internal decision making of these organisations. All organisations are responsible for framing their own policies under Article 19 of the Constitution,” the federal information wrote in his tweet.

In a statement, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) strongly condemned Geo for banning anchor Hamid Mir from conducting his popular show Capital Talk.

“Geo management should let the journalist fraternity know what prompted them to take this decision within the 72 hours of Mir’s speech in front of the National Press Club on Friday where he condemned non-democratic forces for attacks on media persons and Asad Toor,” PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said.

“We also want to make it clear to the management of Geo that if it does not restore the Talk Show of Hamid Mir, then the journalist fraternity will hold demonstrations in front of the Geo and Jang offices across the country,” Nasir Zaidi told

The PFUJ appealed to the Supreme Court to take notice of this ban which is against the provisions of the constitution that guarantee freedom of expression and freedom of press in the country.

Hina Jillani, chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, condemning Hamid Mir’s removal from the show, said it was time that the channel owner’s proved that he supported freedom of expression in earnest. “When the owner of Geo was arrested, the journalist community stood with him in the name of #FreedomOfSpeech. Now it’s his turn to show some backbone in supporting his employee,” the HRCP chief told

In a separate statement, the HRCP strongly condemned the decision to take Hamid Mir off air three days after he spoke fervently against the escalation in curbs on press freedom. “Hamid Mir must be allowed to resume his professional duties immediately and the threats against him investigated,” the HRCP said.

Salima Hashmi, artist and peace activist, called attempts to censor Hamid Mir childish. “Since the time of my father (poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz) the rulers have unabashedly tried to curb freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” she told She recited her father’s poetry while condemning this undemocratic move.

Senior journalist Matiullah Jan said Hamid Mir was being punished standing up for his fellow journalists. “Journalists are already not allowed to speak the truth on TV channels and when they speak out as citizens in public protests they are punished for it,” Jan said.

Nida Aly, Executive Director of Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell, said Hamid Mir was being punished for his outspoken views. “It is clear why Hamid Mir is being punished. Instead of providing protection to journalists, laws are being used to silence them. Such actions are characteristic of a hybrid regime,” Nida Aly said.

Lateef Afridi, President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), said the freedom of speech is a central pillar of any democratic society. “What has happened to Hamid Mir is not the first such incident. And this event proves that our country is marching towards a dictatorship,” Afridi said.

Former SCBA chief Ali Ahmed Kurd said the rulers are mistaken that they could crush criticism with such maneuvers. “If our ‘real’ rulers think that by silencing Hamid Mir they will be able to crush dissent then they are sadly mistaken. If you silence one Hamid Mir hundreds will take his place,” warned Kurd.

Abid Saqi, former vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, called Hamid Mir’s removal as unprecedented and alarming. “It’s time that all the pro-democracy voices in the country unite otherwise we will be picked off one by one,” Saqi said.

Hamid Khan, former president of the SCBA, termed off airing of Hamid Mir as a violation of the Article 19 of the Constitution. “Journalists are being silenced, they are being violently repressed,” he added.

Yasin Azad, former SCBA president, said he knew that Hamid Mir will be punished for showing support to his fellow journalist. “When Hamid Mir was delivering his speech in support of Asad Ali Toor. I realized instantly that after these statements he will not be able to continue with his show,” Azad said.

Kamran Murtaza, former SCBA chief, said Hamid Mir’s removal from his show is a signal to all journalists that they would be rendered jobless if they don’t toe the official line. “A message is being sent that if you (journalists) do not self-censor we will snatch away your employment.  There was a time when these people tried to hide such actions now they are making these moves openly,” Murtaza said.

Iqbal Khattak, Executive Director of Freedom Network Pakistan, said the State and the government are pressurizing media outlets to rob them of their editorial independence. “They want the private media to blindly push the state narrative much like the state media is,” Khattak said.

Activist Ammar Ali Jan termed ‘silencing of Hamid Mir as tantamount to silencing all of Pakistan. “People who speak of their constitutional rights are labelled traitors by those who are guilty of selling our country to foreign powers,” Jan said.

Maryam Nawaz and Nafisa Shah slam removal

In a tweet, Maryam Nawaz, senior vice president of Pakistan Muslim League, also condemned Hamid Mir’s removal from his show. “Banning Hamid Mir’s programme is not a solution to the problem as this will create more difficulties and problems for them. This will not douse the fire but inflame it more, “ she said.

In her tweet, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Nafisa Shah expressed concern at Hamid Mir’s removal. “I’m deeply concerned at removing Hamid Mir from the Capital Talk show. A number of anchors not to the liking of govt have been forced out of their shows including Talat Hussain, Dr Danish, Amber Shamsi. Such naked censorship only exposes fascist mindset of the PTI brigade,” she said.