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Former president Asif Zardari’s interview taken off-air, claims anchor

Journalist Hamid Mir was interviewing him

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 2, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
Posted: Jul 2, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

Photo: AFP

An interview of former president Asif Ali with journalist Hamid Mir was taken off-air on Monday evening minutes after it was aired on Geo News, the anchor said in a tweet.  

“Geo News announced that interview of Asif Zardari will not be aired it was started at 8:03 and stopped within a few minutes,” Mir said in a tweet. “I am getting calls from all over the world people asking what happened? The state of Pakistan is giving a bad name to this country.” He even apologised to his viewers and said, “We are not living in a free country”.

The anchor shared some snippets of the interview too. In one video, Zardari responded to PTI-government’s claims that it didn’t launch any corruption investigation against anyone. “The investigation was started but someone else hastened the process,” he said.

Related: A fiery Hamid Mir takes centre stage at ICMC 2019

Zardari is currently in NAB’s custody. He is being investigated for his alleged involvement in Rs4.4 billion money laundering case. NAB claims Zardari owns shares of a company, Zardari Group, which received some portion of the laundered money.

Some people on social media said that interview of a ‘criminal’ should not have been aired in the first place. “Nowhere [a person] accused of money laundering, fraud [and] fake accounts is allowed one hour air time to justify his crimes,” said journalist Rauf Klasra while responding to Mir’s tweet. He said that it is only in Pakistan that people in NAB’s custody can appear on television to give a “lecture” on democracy and transparency. Many others expressed similar sentiments.

In response, Mir shared a video of his interview with PM Imran Khan from 2007. The police were running after him and he was hiding in a secret place. He said that the regime of former president General Pervez Musharraf had asked the same question he is being asked now—how can you interview a wanted criminal?

Mir clarified that he interviewed Zardari in Parliament House. “Is he [a] bigger criminal than Ehsanullah Ehsan [the] former spokesman of TTP? Remember Ehsanullah Ehsan gave [an] interview from official custody.” He was referring to the Ehsan’s confessional statement which was run by news channels across Pakistan on April 26, 2017.

Related: PEMRA bars TV channel from airing interview of Ehsanullah Ehsan

“This is an outrageous infringement on freedom of the press,” said the Committee to Protect Journalists Asia.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of the former president, remarked that the “Selected government only wants to hear selected voices.” There is no difference in Ziaul Haq, Musharraf’s Pakistan and Naya Pakistan, he added.

On May 28, 2018 journalist Syed Talat Hussain said one of his columns was not published in a newspaper after he declined to make changes suggested by the editorial staff. He said that his article was about the “thickening web of systematic censorship and manipulation in Pakistan.”

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  1. Dr Assad Hamid  July 2, 2019 3:14 pm/ Reply

    Hamid Mir is a traitor and time for accountability of the lifafa journalists should be the top priorty of the Government. These have been running the campaign against Imran khan since he came in power and are being paid by the corrupt PML N and PPP leaders to do this.

  2. Naveed  July 2, 2019 4:56 pm/ Reply

    No need to interview criminals. Hamid Mir should stop these stunts and apologize.

  3. Shayan Khan  July 3, 2019 2:56 pm/ Reply

    #Naveed criminal? Did it has been proved now or in 12year jail or 17 year NAB case haha funny shame

  4. Non Resident Pakistani  July 3, 2019 6:45 pm/ Reply

    Bottom line is that criminals should not be using any means to prove their innocence other than the Court. Once a case is been launched against a person, media should not assist the accused person by airing their part of the stories and giving them the chance to prove their innocence. Media should let the Court and the lawyers do that job so that person can get a free and fair trial and refrain from doing a pre media trial and passing judgments thus creating confusion and misguidance for general public, leading to potential unrest in the country. The only job of Media is to report the proceeding of the court as the case proceeds and provide any evidence and findings in support or against the case before the Court, not on the Media. STOP SPREADING ANARCHY, LET THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM PREVAIL

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