By Abdullah Muntazir
Conspiracy theorists found another ‘evidence’ to play with. This time they got hold of an audio tape of Hamid Mir in which he is talking to a Taliban figure. Some websites say the person is No. 2 of Hakeemullah Mehsood and the others say he is a Punjabi Taliban of TTP. In the audio tape, Hamid Mir shares his background knowledge of Khalid Khawaja, who was murdered mysteriously two weeks ago. Conspiracy theorists are crying that Hamid Mir is a secret Taliban and he is anti-Pakistan. Moreover, some pro-Pakistan people allege that he instigated Taliban to kill Khalid Khawaja. They say that he has a role in his murder by providing negative information about Khalid Khawaja.
I listened the audio carefully but it proves patriotism of Hamid. He speaks against CIA and Qadyanis. He says that he has no problem if Taliban attack NATO supply. He speaks against Khalid Khawaja because of his disputed track- record. Khalid Khawaja was alive when Hamid Mir was accusing him. I do not think he ever thought that Taliban will kill him otherwise he would have never talked in this manner.
People who blame Hamid Mir forget this fact that he is not a preacher or lecture delivering personality. He is a journalist and he needs to keep in touch with everyone including Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Without building trust, he can never get insight of the ongoing situation of militancy. Due to his adventurous nature and personality, he endangered himself at many occasions. He got interview of Osama bin Laden and that was a ‘scoop’ in journalistic history of Pakistan. His fellow journalists in Pakistan could not swallow this fact that a ‘young guy’ can come on centre stage of the world with such a big ‘scoop’. Jealousy barred many intellectuals to accept this interview as a truth. They still claim that it was fake interview but Osama bin Laden or Al-Qaeda never denied the existence of this interview. If it was a fake interview then it was easy for Al-Qaeda to issue a statement but they did not do so. This interview brought two different things for Hamid Mir. At international level his profile jumped many folds while at domestic level he earned huge jealousy and opposition. Conspiracy theorists termed him a CIA agent who wanted to legitimize U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. These accusations still follow him.
Now once again he is facing the wrath of conspiracy theorists. They are searching his role in murder of Khalid Khawaja but forget that Khawaja was not kidnapped on his instructions. This audio too shows that the alleged Taliban figure is also not fully aware of whereabouts of Khalid Khawaja. He asks Hamid Mir about Khawaja. It is also not confirmed that TTP killed him. There was a perception that he was killed by Black Water. For me Hamid Mir was trying to dig out whether Khalid Khawaja was kidnapped by Taliban or not but the Taliban figure in the audio seems smart enough and he did not show any hint that KK was kidnapped by TTP.
Who killed Khalid Khawaja? Taliba, Black Water, CIA, or ISI? I cannot say anything for sure. There are probabilities and we can assign weights to each probability, which may lead us to a better conclusion. Moreover, this conclusion may help us to judge the accusations that Hamid Mir has a role in his murder.
Why Taliban should have killed him? For the revenge of Lal Masjid? Then why 3 years late. He was not living in a fortress. It was very easy to eliminate him two years ago. If Taliban killed him, they got nothing but fulfilled their revenge. Are they so simple people that they will kidnap him, make it a media event, and then suddenly kill him to earn bad reputation among Islamic circles?
Can ISI kill him? Was he working against interest of Pakistan? Was he an under-cover CIA agent? We have no proof but assume he was anti Pakistan then why it took ISI years to conclude he was an anti Pakistan agent who needs to be killed? What was the benefit of his killing to ISI at this particular moment? Was he involved in a big conspiracy? Or he indirectly helped ISI by filing a petition against extradition of Taliban commander Mullah Brother? It is believed that ISI do not want to hand Mullah Brother over to CIA. If it’s true then what they got by killing Khalid Khawaja?
Can Black Water, on the instructions of CIA, kill Khalid Khawaja? For me CIA is the biggest beneficiary of his murder. Within two weeks of his murder, the Lahore High Court has thrown away the petition, which meant to bar the government from extradition of Taliban Commanders. The judge said that the petitioner is no more alive and if anyone else is interested, he should file a fresh petition. Nevertheless, keeping in mind Khalid Khawaja’s fat no one so far has dared to file a new petition. Now CIA is in a position to press Pakistan to hand Mullah Brother over to Afghanistan or U.S.
People who blame Hamid Mir for his alleged role in the murder of Khalid Khawaja, in fact they are giving Black Water and CIA a clean chit in this case. The audio at no point prove that KK was in custody of TTP then how we can blame Hamid Mir for his role in the murder.
I personally know Hamid Mir for more than 13 years, met him several but, never find a hint of anti-Pakistan or anti-Army feelings in him. He is a liberal democrat and criticizes role of Army in politics and military operations inside Pakistan. He is not the only one who has ‘good’ relations with Pakistani Taliban. There may be people from government institutions- who need to keep an open eye on the movement- in touch with Taliban.
Someone says that by telling Taliban that more than 40 thousand troops are about to be sent to North Waziristan he committed treason because he disclosed military secret. It is a very funny allegation. Is it really a secret that Pakistan is engaged in a battle with Pakistani Taliban and currently it is under tremendous U.S. pressure to extend the operation to North Waziristan? If Hamid Mir speaks what is already in the media then how it will become treason?
Interestingly, some people blame that Hamid Mir is agent of CIA while the others claim that he is agent of ISI. Now people blame him for links with Taliban and Al-Qaeda. There are people who think TTP is run by RAW and indirectly they term him an agent of RAW. Is it possible that a person can be agent of all opposite forces? I found no logic behind these conspiracy theories. The fact is that he is a sharp and intelligent journalist. There are people who think he is a political activist but in my opinion he is a professional journalist not an agent of anyone.
Conspiracy theorists usually sit in their study room and cook ‘Khayali Palao’(cloud castles). They are very unaware of the delicacy and complications of field work. Hamid Mir did nothing wrong by establishing strong connections with militant groups. This is his real worth and strength but conspiracy theorists are trying to convert his strength into his weakness. I hope he will not come into this trap and keep his brilliant journalistic work on track. My final advice to him is that he needs to be careful while communicating on telephone. I wonder that in spite of having information that his phones are being taped by certain quarters he was so open in his talking with the alleged Taliban figure. He also needs to inquire whether Taliban leaked this audio or someone who taped it and then leaked it to the media.